By Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D., Kansas City, MO —
Gifts and gadgets need not take over the holiday season. As we celebrate the season, let us also recommit to celebrating family and human values, particularly when it comes to our children.
Gifts and gadgets have their place. But so does guidance of a child in helping him or her determine what is truly important in this life. Too often, we as adults enter the world of a child where toys and things are paramount in their minds and we indulge them rather that allow those toys and things to be a teaching opportunity. The gifts and gadgets takeover can work to their advantage.
If we are to prepare those young impressionable minds to be good sisters, good brothers, good cousins, good friends, and ultimately good parents, good neighbors, good productive citizens, then we need to seize every available teaching moment to impart something of value. Something that will help shape them, and guide them as they face life’s circumstances, challenging and opportunities. Don’t let gifts and gadgets takeover the Holiday Season.
Spending quality time with our children should be an everyday thing. But sometime the holiday season offers a myriad of opportunities to drive a few important lessons home. Lessons like giving of one’s time, talent and resources to those less fortunate. Lessons like sharing some of your most prized possessions – Ninja Turtle, Dora the Explorer, X-Box, Wii, whatever the indulgent craze – with others.
Selfishness is natural. A generous and giving heart is learned. Lessons like teaching the value of no, and delayed gratification. Just because you want it today doesn’t mean you get it today. That simply is not the way life is.
My, my, what teachable moments. Let’s not miss them. There really is nothing cute about being selfish and mean or not thoughtful toward others, or throwing temper tantrums because one could not have their way. And let us not underestimate a child’s ability to understand. Can they work a video game, the computer?
We have only to look around us to realize that we need to pay attention – quality attention – to our children. We are still plagued by the phenomenon of kids resorting to killing anyone in their view at school to address what frustration that ails them.
These incidents happened in the most unsuspecting places. What does that tell us? School shootings occur almost monthly. We have been reminded much too often that we are missing the mark somewhere.
In reality, the shooting incidences are the exceptions. There are many kids crying out for attention and direction who do not resort to such extremes. As adults, we just need to be mindful. Not get caught up in our own priorities and overlook the needs of the young impressionable minds right under our noses.
Shoving toys their way or putting them in front of a television or whatever we do to avoid spending quality time will ultimately take its toll. A price will be paid.
We can do without the horrific wake-up calls of gun violence in schools, runaways, teen parents, drug and alcohol abuse, and all the other detrimental options our children choose because they feel unloved or unwanted.
Let us not lose the real meaning of the holiday season. A time to gather family and loved ones together to really show care and concern about what is happening in their lives. Take advantage of those teachable and caring moments.
Find them throughout the year. Making a lasting difference in a life is what really matters.
We need to pay attention to the gifts and gadgets takeover. Gifts and gadgets will come and go. But guidance and lessons for life can last forever.
Feature photo credit: tysafennem.wordpress.com