When Money Can’t Buy The Best Christmas Gift
Thompson Williams, 61, recallshis memorable Christmas.
What Christmas was the most memorable to you?
Williams: It was Christmas of 2001. Our family was struggling financially. That year we used all our money just before Christmas so that we could pay the bills and buy groceries — at least we’d have something to eat.
Did you have a job that time or were you unemployed?
Thompson:I was teaching students with special needs. The job didn’t bring lots of money. And my wife was selling handmade Christmas ornaments. We lived in Edmond, Okla., with our son Kiamichi-tet, then 11, and our daughter AuNane, 14.
You tried to find something more profitable, didn’t you?
Thompson: Of course, I did. But the times were hard. Suddenly I was offered another job with a higher salary. But if I took it, I wouldn’t be home with my family, and I wouldn’t be working with the special ed kids that I worked with; they would have to do without me.
What was your decision then?
Thompson: You see, we badly needed money that time. So I told myself that the best thing to do was to accept that job because my kids needed Christmas.So I sat down Kiamichi-tet and AuNane and told them I would accept the new job.
Were your children happy you found a better-paid job?
Thompson: Their reaction was unexpected to me. They becamereal quietand then AuNane looked at me and said, ‘Dad, the kids whom you teach need you more than we need presents.’
Your daughteranswered like a wiseadult, didn’t she?
Thompson: Really so. AndI told AuNane, ‘OK, I’ll continue to work with the special ed kids.’ And my son and my daughter both hugged me.
What did you feelat that moment?
Thompson: I was so proud because my kids knew what sacrifice was. And a week later, people started buying my wife’s ornaments and we had money to buy our guys presents. But it felt good that Christmas. I knew our childrenwere going to be good kids. It made me proud.