Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Raising little girl makes a man think

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My two-year-old daughter and I drove out to Shelmerdines last weekend and picked out a Christmas tree. Our first father-daughter Christmas tradition. This weekend I'm hoping to introduce her to another.

I want Christmas to be fun for her and to say I won't spoil her would be a lie. But I'd like to give her a little more than just a doll house or the Hello Kitty bag she's been telling me about for a few weeks now.

I'd like to teach her about helping others. Not that I know much about it myself. I'm as self-centred as the next person and my Christmas will still be about our family and the food and gifts we share.

But sitting down to write this column at the behest of my boss, I did a little bit of soul searching. Again it was for selfish reasons but the result is what matters.

What was I going to do? Write a column about the great bottle of wine I was hoping to enjoy on Christmas Eve? The ridiculous present I hope my family bought for me? Obviously not.

Life is about learning and while I've been pretty wrapped up in myself for the first 40 years or so, fatherhood has opened some new doors for me. I'm no longer just living for myself and the pursuit of my own pleasure.

That little person eating and sleeping and growing in my house is my responsibility. Not just for food and shelter but for nourishment of the soul as well.

So while I will likely pass on to her my taste for certain luxuries, I've been thinking about showing her about charity and volunteerism. She's a little young now but down the road I'd like to take her to a soup kitchen or a shelter for a day. I've done it once. I need to do it more. And if I really want to claim to be a good father, I need to put forth a giving example and not just pass on consumer products poorly disguised as love.

The concept of giving is clear to her. She knows what a present is and that she's getting some on Christmas Day.

This weekend my plan is to explain to her as best I can that some kids aren't as lucky as she is and won't be getting a gift. Then I want her to help me pick out a toy and we'll drop it off unwrapped to one of the charities that distributes gifts to the less fortunate.

We'll also make a donation to the Spirit of Christmas campaign to help the people at the Cheer Board get out hampers and help feed families over the holiday.

It's funny, I started out being a father thinking of what I could teach my daughter. But it turns out she's teaching me just as much.

This lesson, to try and make Christmas a little more about others and a little less about what's under our tree, is a great one.

Thanks, little girl.

Please send your donations to The Spirit of Christmas, c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, R2X 3B6. Here are this week's contributers:

Merrill & Lynda Wozniak$50.00

Merrill & Lynda Wozniak$50.00

Manitoba Lacrosse Alumni Assoc.$100.00

Avis Briscoe$100.00

Gary & Lynn Rockman$50.00

John Guy$100.00

Rene Touchette$197.00

Mrs. W. Fleming$100.00

Beverley Swan$50.00

Margaret Goodman$100.00

Isobel McDonald$50.00

Walter & Melba Kruschel$200.00

In memory of Georgina Senebald$50.00

Mr. & Mrs. J. Wayne LeBlanc$50.00

In memory of Mom & Pop, Daisy & Jack Moran$100.00

Nancy Cullen$150.00

Ernest Holodryga$20.00

Vincent Petrachek$50.00

In memory of Janet & Jack Livingstone$100.00

In memory of Ron & Edie Zimmerman$100.00

In memory of Bob & Joan Caswill$50.00

Maurice H. Tryhuk$300.00

V. Best$50.00

In memory of John Anderson$60.00

Paul & Shirley Lindsay$55.00

Renee Bernardin Kern$200.00

In memory of Grant Anderson$25.00

Marilyn & Bob Forcand$100.00

James P. Harris$60.00

Mr. & Mrs. Gordon Webster$100.00

Marcel Trudeau$200.00

"LS" & Helen Hamende$50.00

In memory of John C.D. &$30.00

Mary E. Thomas

In memory of Todd Fraser$100.00

Rick Phillips$50.00

R. Goodwin$100.00

In memory of Mike O'Hara$100.00

J. Hayakawa$50.00

Robert Harder$250.00

In memory of Angus A. MacLeod,$400.00

In memory of Walter & Jeanne Penno

In memory of Ron Cubine,

Connie & John Clubine, Peggy & Arnold Geith $500.00

In Memory of Susan & Neil Dyck, Dan Middleton,

Marge Smith & Garth Burns$500.00

Employees of Salisbury House$1,000.00

In memory of Serafine &George Ternette, Ernest Smith & Marjorie Smith $50.00

In memory of Clifford & Lois Burgess$50.00

In memory of Olive Barnard &Stanley Hornby$50.00

In memory of Fred Anderson$100.00

Seniors Melody Group - General$100.00

Country Villas Blvd.$88.75

East St. Paul

Anonymous (five donations)$1,150.00

Today's total$7,685.75

Previous total$3,785.00

Grand total$11,370.75

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 8, 2012 C4

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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 www.winnipegfreepress.com
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.

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