Recently my husband and I had a delightful opportunity -- we babysat three of our grandchildren for nearly a week while their parents celebrated their 15th anniversary on a warm island. So many parenting memories came flooding back, and with them came some of the questions that I had wrestled with as a parent, questions such as, “what matters most, stuff or time shared”?
As I watched the grandkids play with their abundance of toys, I decided to ask them, “Where did you get that?” and “When did you get that?” and “Do you play with that a lot?” For some of the toys, the answers were specific and detailed; for many of them, the answer was, “I don’t remember.”
Yet, when we had many lovely quiet moments together, the kids (ages 7, and twins, 4 years old) recounted vivid memories of times spent together -- sledding down our hill, drinking hot chocolate, baking or cooking, playing in the ocean, going to a children’s concert or theater production, making art, bird watching, singing with the autoharp, playing board games, etc. Their memories and joyful articulation of them was heartwarming. Clearly, the time spent together invoked indelible memories, with all of the learning and sharing, and emotions firmly imprinted.
So, it was with great joy that I came upon this article, 50 Life Experience Gifts to Give Instead of Toys, which gave many great gift ideas for children and adolescents. I was especially impressed with some of the service learning activities included, such as volunteering time and talent. I’ve often felt that we find ourselves in service learning, both literally and figuratively speaking. Hopefully, this article will stimulate thinking, and questions such as these as you contemplate giving gifts:
As you begin or continue your holiday shopping, or plan for birthdays or other special occasions with your children and grandchildren, I wish you thought-fulness and joy.
As always, I welcome your ideas and questions. Together we learn and grow.
Past President, WATG
Gifted in Perspective
A column designed to link the gifted perspective to other perspectives, and to make you think.