Tuesday, December 25, 2007


It is Christmas and we are on Kvitsøy. The weather was terrible yesterday, but it hardly mattered. We spent the day indoors with food and opening gifts until all hours of the night.

Julian received and amazing assortment of toys, clothing-- even children's furniture. Toys today are mostly made of plastic, and his have motorized wheels, buttons that light up, and play songs or speak. Everything makes noise. Everything requires batteries.

We all agreed that at one year old, he has more toys than any of us had during our entire childhoods. It really made me think about all the people in the world who cannot even meet their most basic needs. My wife's brother said it well: "Being born in Norway is like winning the lottery."

It is rare to truly appreciate what we have. Speaking for myself, I tend to take it for granted-- after all, I am not surrounded by extremes from the other end of the spectrum. In a few weeks I will be heading back to India-- where the extremes are overwhelming to the point that they are desensitizing. What a different world Julian is growing up in--- and what a different world than my own-- decades ago. I really hope that we do not spoil him, and that he will learn the value of what he has. On the other hand, is it even possible to spoil a one year old?

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