The shops are pack full of toys and gadgets aimed at our children that we are encouraged to buy but will they actually remember these gifts we give them or will they just be a phase in their lives? After all the only things I remember from my childhood are not the toys I played with and all the gifts my parents bought for me, I just remember in detail our holidays, playing board games, growing vegetables in the garden with my granddad and clothes my mum lovingly made us. I personally feel from my own experiences giving my children the chance to experience life, the environment around them and being free from commercialized products is the greatest gift I can and could ever give them.
Saturday afternoon we jumped in the car and after a 15 minute journey we arrived at the beach with nothing more than the clothes we were wearing. Off came the shoes and our feet were immersed in the warm sand, we did not need anything else as the waves crashed on the beach, the wildlife swam around the rock pools, the caves to explore and the sand between our toes was enough of an experience in life, my children they going to remember for ever. While watching my youngest two children chasing the waves it got me thinking;
Unconditional Love – The unconditional love I have for them is the greatest gift I could ever give them. No matter what they do in their lives, the good and the not so good times I will always be there for them. As a ear to listen, to help in what ever way they need me to do and be the solid influence in their lives.
Affirmation – I strongly be leave its more important to affirm a child no matter what they are doing in their lives. This can be any thing from when they are helping out around the house, education, being kind and helpful towards each other and their friends. After all how do they know I appreciate them if I don’t tell them? Or how will they learn to show affirmation when they are older if they can’t learn it from me? Affirmation is as much of a greatest gift I can give them as unconditional love and is something you can not fake or buy off a shelf.
Contentment – I have never spoiled my children with the latest gadget or the in toy. One because I don’t have the bank account to do that and secondly (you could say more importantly) I want them to learn to appreciate what they do have, look after and care for what we provide for them and release that although there are things we would really like to have we don’t really need them because what we already have does the same job. Then when birthdays and Christmas comes around they are appreciative, excited and thankful for what they receive.
Determination / Challenge – Its so easy to give up on things when they are not going your way and you are struggling to get the end result. I be leave by showing each of my children that if they challenge them selves and stay determined they will succeeded at anything. My son for example is dyslexic (struggling to read the most easiest sentence his whole life) he struggled all the way through school and when it came to his GCSE’s he just wanted to give up. But through our support and guidance he left school with GCSE’s and has just passed his first year of college. His dream of being being a mechanic is getting closer and closer just from his pure determination and I am so proud of him for not giving up. I want my children to learn from my example that if you set your self a challenge or a goal you can achieve it with a little / a lot of determination.
Encouragement / Self Esteem – Encouragement is a gift your children will never forget, the caring hand on their back when the are learning to ride a bike for the first time, the friendly smile and wave when they stand on the stage for the first time in front of all the parents to do their school play, being on the other end of the phone to say well done when they walk out their exams and saying those simple words “Good Luck” when they walk out the door to their first day at a new job. By encouraging my children I am not only helping them live their dreams but I am also installing in them that I have 100% faith in them to achieve anything they want to do or become.
Honesty – Being honest with your children about what is going on builds trust in them, that that they are part of the family, takes away any of their worries and makes them feel good about them selves. When we found out my hubby had a problem with his heart we where honest with all 3 of our children (5 , 6 and 17 years old) about the situation. We told them that daddy will get better but needs to have a heart operation before he can get better, kept them update on how daddy was doing straight after his operation and allowing them to see him in hospital. This helped our children to deal with the situation and understand why certain things where happening. Also earlier this year my grandfather died and we where honest with them about death and why people die, which helped them to grieve and come to terms with things easier. After all if I can’t be honest with my children how can they grow up be leaving I am honest with everybody and that best way to be in life is to honest.
Hugs & Kisses – I be leave really strongly that one of the best ways you can show your children you love them is by giving them a kiss and a hug rather than buying a new toy. Every morning I give my children (even my 17 year old) a kiss before they go off to college or school and before they go to bed. Its not a daily routine that means nothing and I am just doing it for the sake of doing it, I do it because I love my children and I want them to know that. Its not a chore or a job I have to do, I do it because I want to do it. But hugs and kisses don’t just stop there, after a disagreement I hug and kiss them to tell them I still love them and even though we may not have been getting on, that has not stopped me from loving them. I don’t be leave there is any age a child can get where you no longer hug and kiss them, after all I am 37 and still receive hugs and kisses from my parents when I see them.
Imagination / Freedom To Learn – We can buy all the toys and gadgets in the world but still the cardboard box or wrapping paper is more exciting at a young age rather than the item I have bought. I always joked when the children where younger “Should of just wrapped a cardboard box.” But in reality the cardboard box does offer hours more fun than any toy and brings out the child’s imagination. The cardboard box can turn into a car, play house, boat and many more things. When we go to the beach we make up stories about dragons living in the cage or pirates burying treasure. There is a whole planet out their to learn from and a world to experience new things from. By giving my children the chance to experience the environment around them on a daily basis is a more precious gift I could ever buy them.
Time – Giving my children my full attention when they are home from school to read with them, talk about their day around the dinning room table while having tea, going out on adventures with them, being creative with them etc.. is so precocious because there will come a time when they have flown the nest and are too busy to spend time with me. So I have a rule, I work before they get up in the morning, while they are at school and in bed but I never work while they are home because that is precious time I can give them. There have been many days where I have sat on one end of our sofa and my son has been sat at the other end, we may not be talking but I am giving him my time and he knows I am there for him. You can’t get time back so why waste the time you do have.
Healthy Relationship – Showing my children the loving relationship, trust, compassion and companion ship hubby and I have in our marriage is giving our children the knowledge and experiences of what relationships should be. Within there friendship groups and latter on in their own loving marriage. Children learn from example and if I can’t show them how relationships should be then they will suffer a lot of pain along the way to find out for them selves. I would rather my children learnt from us than learnt the hard way.
There are many many more gifts that I give to my children for FREE, that will tuck away in their memories for ever but I feel these are a few of the most important gifts I can give to my children.
Paul, Eleanor and Jemima, Mommy and Daddy love you lots and lots.