We’ve all seen it. You’ve shopped for days on end trying to find the perfect gift for your brother’s daughter. You gingerly wrap it, making it look just right. You lovingly present it to her waiting to see the joy on her face… She opens the gift, mumbles a “thanks” while looking at her next gift and moves on. Or even worse, what about the time your nephew proclaimed that the gift you’d chosen for him was lame and boring? Or Heaven forbid, your own child tells someone he doesn’t want clothes for a gift, he wants toys!
Once our babies are past the age of four, they are old enough to learn to be gracious. It is our duty to teach this. We help our children, our family, and our many communities by instilling the values of kindness and gratitude in our children. To be gracious is to be courteous and generous of spirit. This is as important as anything your sons and daughters will ever know.
The holidays are about faith, love, and family-whatever that might mean to you and yours. Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hannukah or believe in anything outside of the religious, no celebration should be made important based on receiving gifts. We must teach this by example and focus on our faith at this time of year…and all year long. Gifts come and go, they break and get lost, they don’t fit or get too small. Faith, family, and love are forever in our hearts.
Please teach your children what your holiday is really about. And then teach them to be gracious to others always and especially when others give them a gift. Remember that the true gift is that someone thought of them. The actual gift is not what is to be appreciated as much as the love and thought that went into the gift.
And if Aunt Franny gives you yet another fruit cake, do NOT make jokes in front of the kiddies as soon as you get in the car to go home. Be gracious and teach gracious.