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Monday, December 24, 2012

Monday Morning Check In: The Gift

During this holiday season, I hope that you take some time to reflect on the meaning of the season. For those of us who celebrate Christmas, this holiday represents the most wonderful gift to us humans on earth. God loved us so much that he gave us his Son. That is the meaning of Christmas for those of us who celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday.

Even if you do not celebrate the holiday season in this way, please take time to reflect on the other most wonderful gift that you have been given — your child.

Step Back and Look Closely at the Miracle of Your Child

Your child is a truly unique gift to the world. Your child is one-of-a-kind. There is no other child like yours. You have been blessed by a special, one-of-a-kind gift that no one else was given. Even twins are different one from another. Treasure the uniqueness of your child. Learn to appreciate those qualities in your child that are different from other children and from you. Your child is many other gifts to you as well.

The Gift That You Need

Your child is the gift that you need. Your child is your mirror. When you look at your child, you will see yourself reflected back in mannerisms, facial expressions, gestures, opinions, behaviors, and even political statements and personal biases. Scary, right? This is a gift because this gift will remind you frequently about things that you need to address in yourself.

The Gift of Love

Your child is the gift of love. Love is not finite; love expands to fill the space left for love. Love will never be used up. There will always be room to love more. Your child will offer this gift of love to you if you allow your child to fill up your heart. Your child will then expand the room that your heart allows for love, if you allow your heart to grow.

The Gift of Growth

Your child is the gift of growth. Your life can continue to grow and mature in fulfillment. Your child offers this gift to you, but the magic only happens when you eliminate the negative things in your life. Your child may test your patience, but until you let go of impatience, you will never gain the gift of discovery, fascination, curiosity, and wonder that your child will show you under the guise of patience. Your child may do something that causes you to feel angry, but until you learn to breathe calmly, accept what is, and relinquish the desire to control, you will never experience the gift of kindness and respect that your child will offer to you. Your child may behave in a way that opens the door to your feelings of arrogance and superiority; you may feel defensive or even competitive at times. Until you learn to treasure your relationship with your child and focus on your child’s needs rather than on your own selfish needs, you will not uncover your child's gift to you of selflessness, relationship, and pleasant connection.

The Gift of New Perspective

Your child offers the gift of new perspective, and this gift will be unique to you. Because your child is one-of-a-kind, you are blessed to receive your child’s unique perspective about the world, whether it is about people, things, or ideas. Your child will open the door for you to experience a new outlook about the people you know. Your child will blurt out observations that will startle (and possibly embarrass) you, but these thoughts are most likely quite true and insightful. Your child may challenge your beliefs, opinions, and habits, but until you learn to listen to your child, you will not learn to see things differently in your world. You will be stuck in the rut of your own beliefs and habitual patterns.

The Gift of Understanding and Insight

Your child is the gift of understanding and insight. Your child may puzzle you and challenge your assumptions about how things work in the world (i.e., how children learn, how children respond to parental direction, how children perceive the world), but until you can let go of your own beliefs, biases, and assumptions, you will never experience the gift of compassion and empathy that comes from the understanding and insight gained by looking through another’s eyes.

The Gift of the Joy of Living

Your child is the gift of the joy of living, or as the French call it, joie de vivre. Your child will divert you to the path that leads you to the joyful moments of living, whether it is a joyful perspective, a joyful outlook or take on things, or an experience of the pure joy of just “being,” like doing something physical, or just gazing at something wonderful. Your child will tax your sense of timing by interrupting your planned schedule, but until you understand and accept the idea that life is not about how well you maintain a calendar, you will not receive your child’s gift of finding joy in every moment of life’s possibilities.

The Gift of Possibilities and Timelessness

Your child is the gift of possibilities and timelessness. Your child has many gifts that can open your eyes to the beauty and wonder in the world. Your child may demand more time than you think should be given, but until you allow yourself to live in the moment, you will not feel the expansiveness of possibility. You will not learn the lesson of timelessness. Life is a mystery that must be experienced and discovered. Your child will teach you about life’s possibilities and about taking time to make important life discoveries, if you learn to let go of your assumptions about life being a problem to be solved and instead embrace the gift of timelessness that your child brings to you.

This holiday season, take a few moments to reflect on the wondrous gifts our children have given us. Our children are our most precious gifts, and we should appreciate and treasure our children for all of the gifts that they bring to our lives. Children bless us with the keys to the kingdom of life. Children will direct us to the paths that we need to take to improve our lives. Children will guide us to those moments that show us that we need to make improvements. Children will lead us to the place of joy, possibility, and timelessness. Children will teach us how to live life to the fullest and how to take advantage of every possibility. Children will show us what love is and how to love to the utmost of our being.

Please take a few moments during this holiday season to reflect on the gift of your child. Your child is your unique gift. Go give your child a hug from me and resolve to give your child a hug every day.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


  1. Thank you, Paula! I appreciate this piece very much, for I need constant reminder of the things you wrote about (especially right now - the stress of the season always bring out the worst of me, when I keep wanting to say "Bah! Humbug!" instead... naughty me!).

    Thanks again for the Christmas cheers!!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family also!

    a grateful parent,

    1. You're very welcome. I have the same problem with holiday stress. I have no free time from the days after Thanksgiving until today, and many more activities to keep on top of (cards, cleaning, gifts, juries, performances, church services). My biggest dilemma is not to fall asleep during the Nutcracker performances!

      Merry Christmas to you and your family!