“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – Kahlil Gibran
When I started this journey of simplifying my life, I realized how much more freedom, joy, and balance this brought me. It is almost a game at this point. Where else in my life can I remove distraction and simplify my life to focus on the essentials? My son’s 7th (!) birthday is around the corner and he is very excited. Let’s see if it will be possible to host a Halloween birthday party like every year. Damn you, Covidiot-time!
I have countless memories of my own birthday parties as a child. My parents always made it special and kept family and traditions alive. For some reason, very few childhood memories actually include the gifts I received. Well… okay, I distinctly remember the Barbie Camping Trailer which was pretty awesome. I was nine-years-old. Or the Lego Hidden Sight Haunted University. I was thirty-nine. Other than that, my gift-receiving memories are pretty sparse. I had a nice chat with a colleague at work about this which got me thinking: What type of gifts can we give to our children that they will never forget? What type of gifts will truly impact their lives? Or anybody’s life for that matter. This is my take on it.
- Something I created or made for him.
- Affirmation: Telling him that I appreciate and love him.
- Challenge him. Encourage him to dream big dreams and follow them.
- Contentment. This need for more is contagious. But, I lead by example and embrace that less is more. I show him that he has to be content with what he has, who he is, and who he can become.
- Life isn’t fair. It never will be. There are just too many variables and idiots on this planet. But, when a wrong has been committed, I want my child to be active in helping and solving. I know that any issue can simply be discussed and solved in a normal way.
- I teach my son to ask questions. Many questions. I will do my best to answer them all without telling him “Stop asking so many questions”.
- Discipline. Appropriate behavior, how to get along with others, how to solve problems, how to get results, and how to achieve his dreams.
- Beauty. I help him to find beauty in everything he sees and in everyone he meets.
- Stability. A stable home and foundation are key. He needs to know that he is safe, his place in the family, who he can trust, and who is going to be there for him. To know that he can always come home is among the sweetest assurances in the world.
- Undivided attention. Mostly. 🙂
- I show him to be generous and live it, so he does it.
- Honesty/Integrity. To be honest and to deal truthfully with others is so much better. No lying. No cheating. No stealing.
- Hugging and Kissing. The other day I heard a father tell his maybe ten-year-old son that he had grown too old for kisses. No, Sir!
- Imagination. And he has tons of that. So cute to see what he creates because the world tomorrow looks nothing like the world today. And those with imagination are the ones not just living it, they are creating it.
- I teach him that learning is fun and a passion for learning is different from just studying to earn a grade or please a teacher. I love to learn, read, write, and study, and he can see that daily. So he does it, too. You want to raise a reader, be a reader.
- We spend quality time together after work and school. We eat together, play together, and talk a lot.
- We spend time in nature. As much as possible. Doesn’t cost anything.
- I teach him to be positive. Pessimists don’t change the world. They make everything sad. Optimists do.
- Time. Giving someone time is a great gift. The gift of time is the one gift you can never get- or take back. So I think carefully about who (or what) is getting mine.
- I give him room to make mistakes. Room to experiment, and explore because kids are fun (to a certain extend, right!?).
- I teach him to have the right amount of self-esteem and self-confidence without creating a wise-ass or know-it-all. To value himself and stick to those values is important. Even when no one else is. He does not have to be the best in everything or better than everybody else.
- Uniqueness. What makes him different is what makes him special. Uniqueness should not be hidden and rather be proudly displayed for the world to see, appreciate, and enjoy.
- Humor. We laugh a lot and are both pretty funny.
- Opportunity. He needs opportunities to experience new things so he can find out what he enjoys and what he is good at.
Of course, none of these gifts are on sale at the department store. But, I think that is the point. Have a lovely weekend.
Stay Happy. Stay Healthy. Stay Sane.