Teen’s Christmas message touches a chord and goes viral
BEN Wilkinson may only be 16 years old but his wise words appear to have given many people renewed faith in the true spirit of Christmas.
The Caloundra teenager has been lauded for a heart-felt message he posted on the Sunny Coast Community Board, giving hope to loving parents stressed out by the financial pressures of the big day.
Ben said he was inspired to share his thoughts when he saw a lot of comments from people worrying about having enough money to give their children a good Christmas.
"I wanted them to know it didn't matter," he said.
"I think back and all my memories of Christmas - they will never be of what I got. I remember every dinner and what we did on the day."
And his words are inspirational.
"As long as you make sure your kids know you love them and all of you are still laughing, your kids will remember their childhood as brilliant," he wrote.
The message has obviously touched a chord with people, as hundreds have taken the time to share it online and make comments.
His mother Heidi said she could not be prouder.
"He's had amazing feedback ... it's made people feel better," she said.
She said Ben and his brother Dale, 14, were always her priority and she tried her best to show she cared while also studying a Bachelor of Business degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
And it paid off.
She graduated in 2008 and for the past three years has worked as a data and statistics officer at the university.
While his mum can now afford more generous Christmas gifts, Ben said he wouldn't have had his upbringing any other way.
In a touching twist, Heidi is now doing her bit to repay Ben for his generous spirit.
The teenager is having trouble getting an apprenticeship and she is hoping someone who can help will call her on 0438 209 987.
It's her way of saying thanks.
SO, I've been seeing a lot of posts about people having troubles around Christmas and them being worried about their kids getting presents.
I am 16 and when I was a kid growing up my family didn't have lots of money and when my mum left my dad we were living on nothing but Centrelink payments, so as a result through my childhood money was always tight.
I can tell you that my childhood was still amazing because it was never about the money or having fancy things. When Christmas came around, my mum would wrap everything up - new school bags, stationery and broken toys and me and my brother loved it!
When you're living rough and you are worried about what your kids think, I'd like you to know some of my best memories are of broken chairs when the top didn't fit to the frame so it was an adventure to sit down; of couches that if you didn't sit on the frame you would fall through and of TV sets that you had to hit to get working and that had two channels.
As long as you make sure your kids know you love them and all of you are still laughing, your kids will remember their childhood as brilliant.
I promise every parent it's not about the money, it's about being a family.
So you should all stop worrying about whether you can get your kid the best present worth a $100.
Christmas will always be amazing for your kids, even if what you get them is from the $2 shop.
Everyone have an amazing Christmas and remember how great Christmas is, isn't decided by how much you spend.