Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Little girl knows more about giving than her old man

  • Print

John LENNON asked, "So this is Christmas, and what have you done?"

Not enough, I find myself thinking.

Once again it's taken the prodding of others to remind me I can do more. Hopefully this column will do the same for you.

Last year I wrote about showing my daughter Christmas was more than gifts and how much one received. Generosity and charity mean more, at this time and throughout the year, was the message -- even if I don't always live up to my own words.

I'm watching her share with her friends and take joy from personal interactions more than from material goods. And in her actions, she's once again teaching me as much I can ever hope to show her.

The other day at her tumbling class, a little girl pushed her out of the first spot in line. She told me about it after and I asked her what she did about it. She explained she didn't push back but let the girl move ahead.

I'll admit, my first reaction wasn't so benevolent. The words, "Next time, push her right back," were on the tip of my tongue. Thankfully my wife has been urging me (read: demanding) to bury my inner caveman as deep as possible.

So, instead of blurting out this reckless advice, I stopped and thought for a moment. Something for which I'm not exactly famous.

After looking down at her for a minute, I asked what happened next. She said the girl's mother came over, talked with her daughter, then they turned to my little one and said, "Sorry." Then my girl got to go down the slide first.

Growing up the way I did, this wasn't the solution the boys in my neighborhood chose. A shove called for a punch in the lips. Push back or be pushed around went the thinking.

I have been -- and can still be -- mean and vindictive. I've always chalked it up to survival in the real world and having to scrap for the little corner of the planet I call my own.

But that's just a rationalization for poor behaviour. Behaviour, I should add, I don't want my daughter to emulate.

Maybe she'll be a little softer than me and maybe she'll come second a few times when a little extra aggression would have earned her first spot.

But may grace and kindness be her first reaction rather than anger and hate.

Do I want my daughter to succeed? Of course. Do I want my daughter to love and respect others? More than anything else.


The other day I was asked by the folks at TSN 1290 to read a few lines for the Christmas Miracle Toy and Cash Drive. Then my boss at the Free Press asked me to write this column for the Christmas Cheer Board.

Once again, I began to think about what this time of year should be about. And once again it brought me back to my daughter and the lessons we're teaching each other.

The tag line in the radio ad was, "Because Christmas should happen for everyone."

It should. So my daughter's done her part and shown me a thing or two this year. Now it's time for me to return the favour. Last year, I took her out to pick a tree and then we bought a gift and dropped it off at the TSN toy drive. We also made a donation to the Cheer Board so they can deliver hampers to the less fortunate.

She's only three and I don't know how much of this is sinking in, but we'll do it again this year and try to make it a yearly tradition. She'll get it.

Her old man's another story. Doing the right thing doesn't always come natural. But if she keeps showing me lessons, maybe some year it won't take one of my bosses asking, for me to chip in. Maybe I'll volunteer because generosity will be front of mind and not hanging in the back of my closet with my favourite Christmas sweater.

Maybe this will inspire you to come up with a toy or some cash. I bet your kids would do it. Follow them. They're wise beyond their years.

Please send your donations to The Spirit of Christmas, c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, R2X 3B6 or call the Free Press classified department at 204-697-7100 to make a credit card donation. Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 30, 2013 C2

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Best of Jets sound bites following Saturday's 2-1 loss to Ducks

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Jia Ping Lu practices tai chi in Assiniboine Park at the duck pond Thursday morning under the eye of a Canada goose  - See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge Day 13- May 17, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.


Do you think the Jets will win Game 4 on Wednesday?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google