Putting Some Thought into Your Children's Birthday Gifts
From very early in my childhood, as soon as I learned to, I loved to write. Stories, thoughts, letters – writing was a great joy for me. On my ninth birthday I received a gift that I will always remember. A friend of my mother’s, whom I’d known from birth, gave me a rather large book. The book was bound in dark leather with a red trim, and had no writing on the outside. When I opened it, there was nothing inside but blank lined pages.
I absolutely adored that gift, and even at that young age I realized how much thought this woman put into it. She gave me something that was uniquely special to me. I still have that book; filled with everything from fictional stories to the rambling thoughts of a girl as she struggled to reach adulthood. And each time I look through this book, I remember how special this woman made me feel that day. She told me, without words, that my writing was important.
As parents we know that the closer our children’s birthdays get, the more hints and outright pleas we hear for this gift or that gift; usually things that are popular with everyone else their age. This is normal - and it’s also normal for you to buy them at least some of the things that they are asking for when their birthday comes around. It is important, however, that we don’t sell our children short when it comes to what they truly want. Young children rarely ever march up to us and state that they would like to be recognized for their uniqueness, and we usually only hear this from our teenagers when they are angry at the limits we are imposing on them. But it is innate in all humans, no matter what age, to want to be acknowledged for our special qualities, talents, and interests. Realizing this about your children can help you find them one or two gifts, along with the latest popular things, that show them that you know who they are and what makes them special. The child who shows a special interest in nature will love being presented with a book on identifying different types of local plants and animals. Not only did you choose a gift that your child will really use and enjoy, you’ve also just told him that you care about what he is interested in. That matters to your child, whether he expresses this to you or not. Giving your children gifts that say “I appreciate who you are” will not only help build a stronger bond between you, but will also teach them to respect themselves and their uniqueness.
It may not happen right away, but one day your adult children may just surprise you by saying, “I remember, and thank you”.
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