Listen instead

It is so easy to get caught up in the flow of what everyone else is doing. It’s easier at the moment to follow the crowd rather than doing what’s best for you (assuming they may be 2 different things :) ).

My mother-in-law’s family has dinner together every Christmas, which ends up being a very large gathering, about 25 to 40 people. 5 years ago they decided to have a Secret Santa gift exchange to make it a little more fun for everyone. We were okay with the extra purchases, even as our family grew in numbers, which would increase our gift purchases (each family member is assigned someone else to give a gift to) – we’re up to 7 now…)We could find a way to keep cost low since most of the children we had to buy for are under age 7 (dollar stores fills that ticket easily with some nice, budget items).

This year, we have found ourselves being tighter on our budget and spending as little as possible, and so we made a list of things to cut out, one of which was this Secret Santa gift exchange. The next step was to break it to my mother-in-law’s family. We thought there’d be a few people very opposed to it and think we were being “Scrooges”. There was surprisingly no opposition at all. One Aunt and her family (with grandkids as well) were moving a few provinces away and so wouldn’t be there for Christmas dinner and so would have to ship the gifts over here. That left only one other sister here with her kids and grandchildren. Turns out one of her children didn’t really want to do the gift exchange in the first place because she didn’t have enough income and wanted to spend what she did have on her own family.

So, for five years everyone was just following through on the gift exchange because they figured everyone else wanted to do it.

Sometimes, it takes courage to step forward and do what you know is right or what’s best for you. Sometimes you have to go completely against the crowd and no one else will follow. But other times you will give others permission to follow what’s right for them and will quietly thank you for having the courage to be a leader.

Have you had any heroes in your life that have stepped forward and not followed the crowd?