Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Giving Gifts: Presence for my Children

Not all gifts come from the store.

Like many other people in this difficult economy, I don't have much money to spend this Christmas.  If I could, I would get my children whatever they have on their lists and be happy to do so.  They are amazingly good kids--obedient, hard-working, genial, sweet and kind.  Unfortunately, that remains an impossibility this year.  So, I do what I can to make the holiday special for them, to make it memorable each year in some small way.  I focus on the traditions and stories and family time that comprise most of the month of December and avoid the consumer trap of teaching my children to associate Christmas solely with the fulfillment of material desires.

And, in all seriousness, if I could give my kiddos any gift that I wanted, I would fill their stockings up with things they will use their entire lives.  I'd give them things that would make them healthy, happy, and strong I'd give them gifts that would make each of them a presence to be reckoned with.

I would present them with resiliency-the ability to bounce back from whatever problems they might encounter, not only keeping themselves intact, but also learning and growing from difficulty.  I would bless them with courage.  I would want them to do what they know is right, even in the face of fear as well as have the fortitude to attempt great things without the fear of failure holding them back. I'd wrap up compassion and respect for life so that they would feel and practice empathy for people and all living things.  Only people who appreciate humanity and animal life experience a sense of connectedness that anchors them solidly to this world and the next.  

They would find under the tree curiosity.  Life-long curiosity grants a person continual growth emotionally and mentally.  It makes them an active participant in their own lives as well as gives them something to dream about.  I'd make sure they opened a box filled with the knowledge of the value and worth.  I want them to be able to prioritize the aspects of their lives so they may truly enjoy their lives and recognize and cherish the important things and people within them. I would also give them ambition and motivation so that they could craft expectations for themselves and have the wherewithal to fulfill them.  A good work ethic will get a person through some of the most difficult times in one's life as well as help them to craft a good, comfortable life.

Lastly, I'd make sure they received a big box of love.  I want my children to know that they are well-loved by others, not because of what they do but because of who they are.  I want them to be able to love others well.  I want them to not be afraid to be open and loving to the people in their lives.  I want them to love themselves too and have a fundamental, healthy self-esteem--to be absolutely okay in their own company, to know they don't need anyone to fill them, only complement what is already there.

I'm sure my babies will be excited to open their presents on Christmas day.  I know they will be grateful for the toys, art supplies and clothes.  They will smile and be happy and it will bring me joy to see their excitement.  I also know that while they might not recognize or be enthused about the other gifts I try to give them every day, one day they will see and appreciate them too.  Perhaps when they are adults and Christmas has lost some of it's shine due to the stresses of responsibility and parenthood, they will understand the presents that mean the most are the ones you can't get at a store and last a lifetime.