For a few different reasons, some of which I am aware, I will have to say that I enjoyed this Christmas more than most. Right at the start of the season, I read about an experiment conducted with two groups of young children. As the first group visited with Santa in pairs, they were asked, “What do you want for Christmas?” The second group, also in pairs, were asked, “What gifts are you planning to give for Christmas?”
The first group all responded very quickly with the typical lists, some of which were a bit lengthy. The second group had many who seemed confused by the question. “What do you mean?” some asked. Some assumed Santa misspoke and began giving the list of what they wanted. This was a persistent Santa, though, probably a moonlighting third-grade teacher, and he didn’t turn the little brats loose until they at least attempted to identify some gifts they at least wanted to give someone.
Immediately after leaving Santa, the pairs of kiddoes went to one of his happy little green-clad helpers.
“I have two surprise gifts,” Master Green Everything announced, lifting two pieces of packaged candy. One package was about five times as large as the other piece. “I only have one of the large ones and one of the small ones. Who wants to choose first?” Although the competition was often very close, MGE could always identify a winner. “Which piece do you want?” he asked the winner. About eighty percent of these kids in Group One chose the big piece for themselves, leaving the pitiful little losers with the runt piece of candy. Facial expressions were pretty telling on both sides of the big piece.
With the second group, the results were dramatically different. Over sixty percent of these little scampers opted to forego the large piece and instead took the small piece for themselves.
Isn’t it just downright inspiring to see how a very simple bit of prodding kids out of their usual preoccupation with selfishness can so quickly change their predisposition toward sharing and consideration? Just think what several years of parental example might do!
Lord willing and Paul Harvey estate not suing, tomorrow I’ll give you the rest of the story. My little story in which no elves are exploited, no candy changes hands. But there is a small miracle near a dusty backstreet.