Reflecting on life with gingerbread houses

Parent Connection

December 4, 2009 

My family and I just completed our third annual ginger bread house creations. I must admit, three years ago I never would have dreamed that I would find so much satisfaction with a holiday activity in which I have no talent. Art of any kind just isn't my thing.

But you see, I'm not the visionary in our home. That talent belongs to my dear wife Julia, the mother of our two daughters and "Mama" to our son-in-law. The two grand-dogs simply call her Grammy -- at least in her heart. Anyway, Julia -- who is quite creative -- declared the week of Thanksgiving as The Great Greeson Gingerbread House Making Event, to be celebrated each year as family.

I'm not talking opening up a gingerbread house kit and simply using what comes in that box. This year's selection of candy and other edibles covered the entire dining room table. Anything goes. Past creations include a football stadium, college town's main street, stone church, one room schoolhouse, dog houses, miniature horse barn, a home in Whoville, Mr. and Mrs. Clause fast asleep in their bedroom, and a ski resort. The mood of the event? The slightest bit of competition in the air is grossly outweighed by conversation, laughter, and background holiday tunes.

I've learned something in these past three years. As fun as it is to admire our three finished gingerbread projects displayed in our dining room each year, it ain't about the end product. It's about the process.

When you reach the mid years of life you do begin to reflect back. Not solely of course, for there is plenty going on each and every day. But you do begin to mull over days past and decisions that were made.

As I found myself reflecting back a bit this year, it occurred to me that Julia's gift of intuition goes much further than planning for holiday activities. Such wisdom was evidenced long ago as our daughters were growing up.

You see, I married a gal who made it a priority to instill in our girls relational attributes. It took discipline, teaching, chatting late at night while sitting on the side of their beds, and the support of dear ol' dad along the way. Yes, I was a part of the plan, but it was a mom's intuition and vision for the future that encouraged characteristics that allow little girls to grow into relational young women. Confident yet humble, and prepared for a world that is uncertain and at times, unfair.

My point? I think our children and teens may very well be living in a culture that has lost the art of meaningful relationships and are quite content to do so. Want to do a little reflecting? Observe how much your children are interacting with others versus plugged into some gadget or screen. How meaningful is their conversation with you and others? Do you find yourself looking the other way to self-absorption, an all-about-me attitude, or even being the social bully to other kids? Tough questions, but no better time than today to find some answers.

Bryan Greeson, a nationally certified School Psychologist residing in Gastonia, NC, answers your questions. E-Mail him at

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