Christmas Gifts

Merry Christmas!

Last night we celebrated Christmas, and I was reflecting on the whole theory of gift giving. With three young children we have gifts to give them, but as I thought about the best gifts I have received in my life, not one of them came wrapped in paper.

As concerned parents we find ourselves is discussions with other parents on the merits of certain schools and educational philosophies, how much television children should watch and whether computer games with violence should be allowed. There are so many details that can be argued for and against.

When I think of what’s important and what will carry our children forward to live a long and happy life, the details are quite insignificant. I feel it’s the big things that matter when parenting. There’s no way my wife and I will make all the right decisions on the details, but we can ensure we do the big things well.

As I see it there are three gifts we as parents need to give to our children. These gifts are not given once, but are continually given over a lifetime.

The first is unconditional love. Unconditional love is the solid foundation on which a steady life can be built. Unconditional love is love that is shown and demonstrated no matter what happens. Unconditional love is shown in the most trying situations, for example, when a family heirloom is broken, when the car has been written off or when failing grades appear in a report card. Unconditional love is the knowledge that someone is loved for who they are, not what they do or what they have. Unconditional love is something you carry with you everywhere you go as a protective shield against any potential harm. Unconditional love by its very nature is never lost… it is unconditional.

The second is an open mind and the ability to use it think. And I don’t mean this in the simplest form, for example if I said, “Think of a number between one and a hundred” I’m sure anyone could do that. That’s not the thinking I’m referring to. I’m referring to independent thought.  Thinking is coming up with a solution to a problem. Thinking is inventing, creating. Thinking is deciding that you don’t accept everything as it is but questioning why. Asking questions like, “Why are there so many species of trees? Why is the sky blue? Why do people get jealous? Why do people voluntarily put themselves in harm’s way? The ability to think comes from the time and opportunity to do so. The less children are “fed” what to think and the more they are encouraged to create their own thoughts, the better the thinking muscle will be developed and the greater their ability to survive in an ever-changing world.

The third, and by no means any less important than the other two is faith. I don’t mean religious faith, but faith in oneself. It’s the faith in knowing that everything will turn out for the best.  It’s about knowing that you have control over your own destiny – to rely on yourself to get the job done. It’s the faith that whatever you do will result in eventual success. It’s that inner knowing that you will have life full of triumphs. It’s knowing that no matter what happens you can always bounce back stronger and even if you can’t see the way forward it will present itself.

Having the faith in oneself, supported by the unconditional love and coupled with the wherewithal to discover answers through clear thinking, forms a potent and unstoppable force for personal success.

Really, when you think about the trivialities that fill our time, there are but a few fundamentals that make it all happen in life. These are the greatest gifts of all.

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This entry was posted in 7 Criteria, Be Inspired, Intelligent, Parenthood, Questions About Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Christmas Gifts

  1. Karyn Tetrault says:

    hi matthew!
    our christmas was VERY different this year. more than any other either of us has experienced… and the least engaged in the “machine”.
    did you participate in the commercial aspect at all? you cite core value quintessentials…but did not reveal your celebration. did you induce a radical departure in line with your above writings? did you pave your own way, chisel your individuality into your children’s experience or add your thoughts to the seductive sway of society’s edicts? there is value in conforming and fitting in. there is trail-blazing and genius in separating from the pact.
    what did you and gosia give the kids, experientially, morally and value-wise this year.
    love from mexico to you all. miss you guys.

  2. Karyn Tetrault says:

    forgive my spelling errors. separating from the PACK – not pact. however it might be an interesting unconscious slip as well from a meaning standpoint – ha ha.

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