Still trying to decide what to get your kids this year for Christmas? How about getting them something that will last a lifetime? Some of the best gifts my parents gave me weren’t gifts that came from a store, but gifts that came from their lives. Here are a few gifts my parents gave me growing up that I’m trying my best to pass on to my children.
1. THE GIFT OF A HEALTHY MARRIAGE: My parents were always affectionate, loving and respectful to one another. Watching how my dad treated my mother (and vice-versa) has taught me how to treat Lea. I wish as parents we’d realize that a vital marriage is the best gift you could ever give your kids. Parents who maintain a strong and vibrant marriage set a positive example for their children. A healthy marriage is better than a cell-phone or an X-Box, and it’s the gift that would really last their lifetime. When children see the way their parents love and respect one another, it teaches them to do the same.
2. THE GIFT OF INTEGRITY: I was taught from a young age that we didn’t lie, cheat or steal. When I did things like that there were consequences to pay. Wouldn’t it be nice today if as parents we’d practice what we preach. I wish we wouldn’t tell our children one thing and then do just the opposite. That has to be so confusing to our children. Don’t ever lie for your kids. When a parent writes a note to school saying their child was sick or had a doctor’s appointment, and really they just over slept …. YOU are teaching them it’s OKAY to lie. Don’t you get it? Don’t lie to help cover up mistakes for your kids. This is simple … practice what you preach!
3. THE GIFT OF DISCIPLINE: This is going to be hard for some of you to believe (smile), but I remember on more than one occasion the principle calling my mom to ask for permission to “paddle” me for something I’d done at school. Always the same response from my parents, “Get him!,” they’d say and then add, “And tell him he’ll get another one when he gets home!” Ugh! No child likes discipline, but it’s necessary for their development as adults. As a parent THE WORST thing you can do for your children is pull strings to get your children out of trouble. Instead, if your child has done something that deserves punishment, let them be responsible for their own actions. Don’t threaten to call a lawyer, talk to the principal or talk to a superior to get your child out of trouble for something they’ve done. Have you ever heard of “you reap what you sow” or you have to be responsible for your own actions?
4. THE GIFT OF LOVE. There are different ways to spell love. T-I-M-E spells love. L-I-S-T-E-N spells love. Love can be spelled T-O-U-C-H. It’s important to touch your children. Nothing is better than one of my children’s arms around my neck, whether they are 19 or 7 years old. Love is spelled R-U-L-E-S. Believe it or not, it really is. Love is spelled P-L-A-Y. Do some fun things as a family.
5. THE GIFT OF SPIRITUAL TRAINING: Growing up, we never left for school without my mom reading us a bible story. Spiritual training was a deliberate part of my parent’s plan to raise children. Personally, I wish as parents we’d see that spiritual training is not optional but essential. Families today don’t need a small dose of God, they need a large dose of God. Children need spiritual training. Talk about God in your home, read bible stories together, attend church together and let them see that God is important to you and a part of your life. Come to think of it, the gift of God is not just a gift that lasts a life time, but it’s a gift that lasts an eternity!