Matt Sweetwood would like to take advantage of the 12 days of Christmas. He has a wish for each day.
It was just yesterday that my children were little. Now, all five of them are in their twenties and on their own. The holiday season used to be extremely hectic, including heavy shopping, big meals, family gatherings, football, going to the movies, and hanging out. We’d all come together in our big house as one big happy family, living the American dream.
It was all a false narrative. In 1996 my wife, my five children’s mother, left us for good.
I have spent the last 19 years raising my kids by myself, which has taught me more than I could ever possibly write about what is really important. So in the holiday spirit, I share what I want this year on each of the 12 days of Christmas:
- Good Health: This is the most important. I am very grateful that my children and I have always been healthy; and I wish for that to continue.
- Freedom: Now that my kids are grown and I sold my business, I have the freedom to do what I want, when I want. I want to use this new freedom to be more productive and creative because that makes me happy.
- Alone Time: When I was younger I feared being alone, but I have learned that it can be cathartic, keeping me balanced and relaxed. I would gladly sacrifice alone time for a S.O., but only if she adds value to my life.
- Healthy Love: After two divorces, I have learned the hard way that not all types of love are healthy. I want healthy love, in which my S.O. loves me for the man and dad I am – not for what she gets in return.
- Respect: I want respect for me, my kids, my friends, and all my family.
- Kindness: I have learned that I only have control of my own actions. I want to allow only those who are kind to me into my life.
- Good Treatment: No one deserves to be abused – by any one – for any reason. I want to eject all abusive people from my life – no excuses.
- Successful Children: This one is obvious. I didn’t go bald giving all I had, raising five kids to adulthood, running a business with 100 employees to pay for it all, for nothing – I want all my five children to be successful.
- Finding My Purpose: We are put on earth to find our purpose; I believe raising five kids is mine, and I want to continue improving at it.
- Appreciation: I don’t want physical gifts, I want appreciation. On Father’s day I always tell my children either to write a genuine note expressing their appreciation or give a hug and a “I love you dad.”
- Personal and World Peace: I want to wake up each day knowing I have good people and have had good experiences in my life. I also want peace on earth for everyone – from war, violence, and persecution.
- God’s Help: I never use to be spiritual but after everything my kids and I have been through – to see them today successful and happy shows me there must be a greater power.
Through my difficult times I have learned that material items won’t bring me happiness. None of my 12 wishes include a new car, TV, cell phone, reclining chair, fishing rod, coat, sweater, tie, or even 5 golden rings. Those things are not important in life.
The Christmas season reminds us of what is truly important: peace, love, and goodwill towards all. Please put those at the top of your list.
Happy Holidays to All.