As babbies mature into sentient beings, it becomes a high priority to provide the building blocks of the education they’ll need to function in society: numbers so they can count, letters so they can read, and even toys so they can share. Even more important than all of these fundamentals, however, is basic havoc-mitigation: “bleach is not a drink”, “knives are for food, not brothers,” and above all, “fire is extremely dangerous.” By the time I entered kindergarten, I hadn’t received many acknowledgments of distinction, but I did have a certificate proclaiming that I would “not play games with Fanny Flame.”
Thus, it wasn’t the mere prospect of gifts that excited me as Chanukah drew nearer; the very fact that I would be permitted to take the enkindled candle in my hand on the first night was itself thrilling. Such a benevolent youth was I that the presents I was soon to receive were of little interest to me. Apparently, I was somehow equipped for the manufacture of teddy bears – perhaps it was a school project? – and firmly ensconced in the mindset that ‘twas better to give than receive.
Whether I successfuly met my quota is to this day unclear.