When my youngest son, Kaighn was eight-years old he brought home a note from his second grade teacher, Mrs. Cheek. The note explained that within a few days Kaighn would be bringing home a treasure box that he had made at school. For the next few weeks he was to place his most valued treasures into this box. If an item was too large or too valuable, the students were asked to write its name on a piece of paper and place the paper in the box. The children were to return their boxes to school the day before Thanksgiving when they would share their treasures with the class in the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

I would like to have been present in Mrs. Cheek’s classroom when the treasure boxes were opened. They surely contained big secrets of significance. From experience, I don’t believe kids place as much value in tangible things as adults often think – at least not at the age of eight. God blessed Kaighn with the gift of giving which he understood and demonstrated from a very early age. So it was an extra blessing to watch him choose the contents of his treasure box.

Using lots of color and glitter, Kaighn decorated the outside of his box by drawing our home. He gave great thought to his selections for the box, confirmations of the secrets to his heart. The box held no surprise for me but every time I passed his dresser upon which the treasure box sat, I felt a lump in my throat as I reflected on the meaning of its contents.

Two treasures went into the box immediately. Kaighn had lost his NC grandfather, ‘Pop” six months earlier. The Boy Scout knife my father had given Kaighn when he became a  Cub Scout and a small pocket knife keychain Kaighn had given him the previous Christmas went straight into the box.  And then Kaighn realized he would be unable to take two knives to school. Not wanting to discount their meaning with a piece of paper, Kaighn decided to replace them with Pop’s pocket watch. This was followed by some special rocks that he collected and shared with his NC grandmother, a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth, a photo of Kaighn and his PA grandparents on a hike to the Big Falls in the Pocanos and a photo taken in Pennsylvania of him and his eighteen-year old cousin, Teddy the previous Thanksgiving. It was very important to Kaighn that all of his grandparents be represented in his treasure box, a fitting tribute to eight short years of significant bonding and memory making.

I wondered what item(s) we adults would place into a treasure box. Our real treasures aren’t tangible items you can put in a box.  The older we become the more value we place on time and family and the health to enjoy both. How many ‘seasoned’ citizens in their golden years say they wish they’d spent more money, bought a bigger house, a fancier car and devoted more time to their careers? “The higher joy is not the light, it’s the reflection. The greater pleasure is not climbing up; it’s handing down,“ Bruce Feiler, author of The Council of Dads.

Have you noticed how difficult it is to get a Christmas wish list from a senior citizen? It isn’t because they have everything. It’s because the things they want most, money can’t buy – your love, time and attention – just like children. The treasures in Kaighn’s box represented time, love and shared experiences. Aren’t adult treasures the same?

Everyone has a treasure box. I hope this Thanksgiving finds yours filled and that you take the time to increase your blessings by sharing your bounty with those you love. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

~ From the desk of Becky Morlok ~

Copyright © 2010 The C3 Connection. All rights reserved.

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