Sometimes we wish we had more money so that we could give our children gifts that would make them happy or let them know that we love them a lot. But the most important gifts we can give our children are priceless and can be given by any parent who chooses to do so.
I remember the words to a song I learned as a kid that go like this: "The moon belongs to everyone. The best things in life are free. The stars belong to everyone. They gleam there for you and me. The flowers in spring, the robins that sing, the sunbeams that shine, they're yours, they're mine, and love can come to everyone, the best things in life are free."
The following is a listing of the six free gifts a parent can give a child every day. They cost nothing but are worth more to your child than anything else you can give.
The first gift is the gift of belief. When your child hears you say, "I believe in you," there is something magical that happens between you and your child. When a child feels believed, even when they are not sure themselves, it is the foundation for confidence. Parents who give this gift become the "cheerleaders" that every child can benefit from.
The second gift is the gift of trust. Saying, "I trust you," to your child empowers them. When they fell trusted they are free to experiment and try out new ideas, knowing that if they fail you understand. If a parent can give this gift freely, the child will learn that you trust them to do their best and when they fail you trust them to learn from their mistakes.
The third gift is the gift of encouragement. When a child is tackling a difficult task and they hear the words, "I know you can handle that," the child can reach into themselves and find the courage to continue. Encouragement enables a child to evaluate themselves rather than depend on other people to determine their worth. A parent's encouragement can make all the difference.
The fourth gift is the gift of listening. Sometimes when a child is processing information it helps just to have a listening ear. Listening without "giving advice" can be very hard for a parent to do. But when the parent gives the gift of true listening, without all the editorials, the child learns that what he/she has to say is important. Knowing that you "heard" and that you understand is sometimes all a child needs.
The fifth gift is the gift of caring. When the child senses that they are a significant and cared for person, it makes it easier for them to make the hard decisions that may result in loss of friendship, ridicule, or hurt. Knowing that they are loved and cared for, no matter what mistakes or bad decisions they may make, can be very comforting. Every child likes to hear their parent say, "I care about you. You do not have the power to make me not care for you." Children who choose to rebel against their parents will normally reestablish the relationship if they know that their parent will never give up on them.
The sixth gift is the gift of importance. Knowing that, to your parent, you are the most important person in the world enables the child to see themselves as important too. If the parent, who the child loves and respects, sees him/her as important, then it must be true. When children sense that they are important, and have something to contribute to the family, community, world, etc., it makes it almost impossible for them to fail. When children who feel important are asked to tell about their failures thy usually have none to report. They may report setbacks, but they see setbacks as challenges, not failures. When you let your child know that they are important to you they will begin to believe that they are important and have something significant to give the world.
The most important gifts we can give our kids do not cost a thing. When you give the gifts of belief, trust, encouragement, listening, caring, and importance to your children, your give them a positive base on which to build their lives.