Compassionate Parenting - Receiving gifts as a most high honour

Hope you all enjoyed Earth Hour! I spent it relaxing on the couch with my better half. How did you spend yours?

On to today's regularly scheduled piece on compassionate parenting and how it relates to the real world. Today, we revisit the concept on gifts, and how the receiver holds a key part in successful gift giving of any type.

Contributing to the well-being of others is a fundamental need, for children as much as for you.

When parents recognize and receive the gifts children have to offer, they inspire children's natural desire to give.

Having an appropriate response to gifts is a very important habit and reaction tot each by example to both children and other adults in your life. If they see you respond positively and honestly to gifts and offerings, they are significantly more likely to try to emulate that reaction themselves. This is because experiencing the full extent of gift-giving lies not only in the ability to give a gift, but also in the reaction of the receiver.

When you are super excited about a gift that you either purchased or made for someone, that excitement can be severely dampened by their reaction. If they react negatively or neutrally, you may feel that you have done something wrong, or possibly even insulted them. This will affect your confidence when it comes to thinking of and giving gifts, as you may start to feel that your gifts are not good enough or that they are unwanted. Not a good feeling at all!

While we’re on the subject of gifts, keep in mind that not all gifts are tangible items that you can hold in your hands. The greatest gift that I received this Christmas was having a happy and positive experience with my family at our dinner on Boxing Day. This was provided by each and every one of my family members in attendance (and that amounts to over twenty people!) but it was a great experience, lots of fond memories, and good feelings all around. Children can gift non-tangible gifts every day, such as inviting you to help them, or telling you a story (either about their day or that they made up.)

My daughter LOVES to tell me stories about all sorts of things. Sometimes it’s about dreams that she has, and sometimes it’s about something fun that happened at school. When she is telling me a story, I do my best to listen in and involve myself into her story by asking questions about details and being fascinated by the imagination that her little 6-year-old brain showcases. I make sure that she understands and sees that I am very interested in what she is saying, and she enjoys telling me stories because of this. This is an example of a great gift that my child brings to my life, and I recognize and receive it by using actions to show her that I am thankful and happy to receive this gift.

It is all too easy to half-listen and not really take any interest in the small gifts that are given to you each and every day. But these gifts are essential to our emotional well-being as well as the well-being of those who are giving us these gifts. When we acknowledge and receive these gifts positively, they are more likely to continue to come in. This will not only make you as the receiver feel good, for being the honoured receiver of these gifts, but they will make the giver of the gifts feel both appreciated and listened to. And that is a feeling that does not erase itself easily.

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