Mondays with Mac: Are you a Wild Thing?

Mondays with Mac: Are you a Wild Thing?

A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child." -Forest E. Witcraft

Where the Wild Things Are is a recently released movie based on the 1963 book by Maurice Sendak. It is a story about imagination, expressing emotions, bravely facing fears, and finding acceptance. Like many children's books, it is the kind of book that can be enjoyed twice in life--once, when you are a child, and again when you are sharing a favorite book with the little ones in your life.

That reminds me of a story that my co-author, Lance Wubbels, told in our book To a Child, Love is Spelled, T-I-M-E. When Lance was a child, Easter was a very exciting time for his siblings and him, but not because of the candy or presents. The Easter Bunny (Lance's father) paid them a very special visit. In the twilight after his family finished their dinner, a loud tap from a giant white paw would sound at the window. The Easter Bunny had arrived! Just as Lance and his siblings reached the empty window, another tap came from the opposite window. They rushed to the sound, to try to catch a glimpse of the bunny, but the most they saw was that white paw. This mayhem continued as the bunny made his way to all the windows, and ended when Lance's father came in from the garage, where he was "working on the radio". The children regaled him with their sighting of the Easter Bunny, and how that was the most exciting part of the night.

Lance continues this tradition, being the evasive and playful Easter Bunny (and Santa Claus) to his children. As he writes in our book:

That holiday tradition belongs to our family alone. I've never met another person who has had the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus personally bang on their windows. But I'll bet that when my children have children, that happy scene will be repeated again and again. Here's the point. Laugh and play together. Create family traditions that are all your own, even if the neighbors look out their windows and think you've lost your mind as you race around your house pounding on windows in the dark. Our family traditions reminded me that we belonged to each other, that our family really was our family. No other family had the distinct honor or fun that our family had on these holidays.

Lance became one of the "Wild Things" for his children and passed down a sense of tradition and fun that will stay with his family for years to come. Whether you are passing down a favorite book from your childhood or a fun family tradition, your kids will be shaped by those cherished times together. When you take the time to encourage imagination in children and show them they matter, you are investing in the most important market of all. Your bank account won't make a difference to the world after you're gone, but the children you impact will grow up to affect the world around them for better or worse. Make it a priority to have a positive impact on the children in your life.

How have you been making a difference in children's lives? Do you have a favorite childhood book you've been able to pass down? Which family traditions have you passed down to your children?

October 26, 2009
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