Six Gifts That Will Keep on Giving
When was the last time you received a genuine compliment, affirmation, or encouragement?
How did that make you feel? I bet it didn’t happen very often in the last year. I also bet it was the highlight of your day (likely the highlight of your week) and just thinking about it energizes you now. That is a significant impact for just a few spoken words or a short note. What a great gift!
It’s a shame, actually, a tragedy that every day we interact with people who are very important to us, yet we don’t share such an impactful gift with them. The holiday season is the perfect time to change this. We will see most, if not all, of those dearest to us in the next few weeks. Let’s use this time to give a gift that keeps on giving.
I believe these gifts of compliment, affirmation or encouragement are so rare because they have not been modeled for us. And as a result, we do not model them.
I have the honor of working with a charity, Souly Business (www.soulybusiness.ca), that helps men address the important parts of their lives, not just the urgent. Regardless of their background, whether they are just starting out or are a billionaire, what we hear is when most men are honest, they reveal a lack of affirmation by their father and a deep longing for respect. Fathers don’t intentionally neglect this critical need. For most men, they have not had it addressed so they don’t know how to address it with the next generation. I expect there are similar experiences for women.
Choosing a Gift(s) - This gift can come in many forms. The key is to be positive not critical. Be vulnerable, lead with your heart and be honest. Here are a few practical choices:
Compliment/Praise – Express your heartfelt appreciation for a character trait (honesty, integrity, work ethic, concern, generosity, care, etc.) that you see in another. Explain how you see that being displayed and the impact it has had on you and/or others.
Encourage – Let people know they are good enough to accomplish their pursuits, their life is making a difference and they are making progress. Be tangible and specific in what you see.
Affirm– Communicate why and how much you appreciate them. Let them know who they are and what you see them doing well, along with the great choices they’re making and actions they’re taking. Tell them where you see them excelling.
Bless – Clearly let them know you are proud of them, you respect them, you love them, you want the very best for them and will always be there for them no matter what challenge they face.
Share– The focus is on giving. One way to do this is to give a principle or truth you have found to be true. Express it in story format so it will be remembered. Explain the principle and how you learned its truth and value. You’re sharing your life experiences which creates a greater connection to you. You’re also passing on your life lessons to others, so they don’t have to learn the same lesson from scratch.
Provide vision– Tell them what your greatest hopes and dreams are for them. They can catch your confidence for their future.
We will see most, if not all, of those dearest to us in the next few weeks. Let’s use this time to give a gift that keeps on giving.
Choosing The Wrapping - There are a few ways to wrap your gift. Choose the wrapping that reflects you or the one you know they will appreciate most. I’d encourage you to continue giving regularly and use different wrapping when you do.
Verbal – This may be the simplest. It can also be used time and time again and can fit well for casual gifts.
Note – Provide a card or note that expresses your thoughts.
Letter – You could call it a Letter of Blessing if that fits. An expression of some of the gifts above.
Journal – You can give them a journal where you write letters or chapters annually. Provide a new addition each year on their birthday or at Christmas.
If you choose a written gift, I encourage you to write by hand. What an incredible keepsake to have these personal thoughts captured and able to be revisited. This is a gift that keeps on giving even after you are gone!