I don’t require the kids to make Christmas cards for anyone, although I do invite them to do so. This year Mica and Nathan took me up on that and Ryan abstained. If I recall correctly, Nathan made two cards, and Mica pretty much stamped any piece of paper I put in front of her, and then, feeling herself under-challenged, took to smearing the ink directly on her face. Maybe she isn’t quite ready for stamps.


I do, however, require the kids to write (or dictate) thank-you notes. This may seem draconian of me, but once they get past their initial reluctance they actually rather enjoy it. I think it’s good not only because it’s always a good thing to thank people for their generosity, but because it forces them to reflect on that generosity in the first place, and in some small way consider the blessings they have in their lives.


I doubt they share my point of view. Maybe they’ll come around in thirty years or so. Right now it is a measure of the autonomy they enjoy in most of their lives that my declaration of a “mandatory” activity was met with voluble protests from Ryan, about how it isn’t right to force people to do things. We had quite a conversation along those lines. In the end I’m not sure I convinced him, but I did wear him down.


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