Most Christmas traditions in America are geared toward children and have been for a long time. A time of hope, giving, and believing seems to be enjoyed more by those with a child-like innocence- those who still make wishes and believe in the impossible.
We perpetuated the Santa tradition until our youngest stopped believing and I honestly had enjoyed keeping the magic alive. We had a good run. Giving gifts and surprising my children is really fun for me. Now that they’re older and not as easy to please or surprise, some of my gift giving joy has gone.
As my children have become teens and tweens, one perched on the edge of the nest preparing to fly, I think about the gifts that I really want them to have. Far greater than their Christmas wish list, are the gifts that will shape their character and carry them into this life as difference makers.
Five Great Gifts to Give our Children
- Perspective. You are here for others and you can make a difference. Include your children in experiences that help them see past their own little Snapchatted life. Invest in mission trips, not just vacations. Serve together in local ministries. Invite those in need into your home and your life. Be an example of sacrifice- not just to make your child’s dreams come true, but to make someone’s survival possible in this world.
- Purpose. Come along side and coach your child so he can discover his God-given gifts and abilities. Take it a step further and find opportunities for those gifts to be used for eternity. Challenge your child to begin leaving a legacy even at a young age. They’re not too young to be used by God.
- Pace. In our desire for our kids to be well rounded and successful, we can easily push them into the hamster wheel. Do more! Be more! Go! Go! Go! They’re facing a world that tells them to be great at everything instead of focusing on their strengths. You and I fight that super hero mentality every day. Let’s don’t pass it down to our kids. Allowing and encouraging rest, balance, and space on their calendars is healthy.
- Planning. I want to give my children the gift of goal setting and dreaming. We have all heard that saying, “if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time!” It’s true. I think back to when Trent and I were engaged and we read a book about budgeting by Larry Burkette. We made a plan so that I could one day stay home with our kids. Ask them great questions like, “Where do you want to be in 10 years?” and “How will you get there?” If you don’t know a lot about setting goals or you’re not great at reaching them, then work on it together with your kids.
- Prayer. The greatest gift is the one we give from our knees, with our faces bowed before the Lord. Fighting for our children in prayer is key. Teaching them to walk out their journey in prayer is truly life giving. Lead by example and let them see you seek God as you make decisions and as you serve your neighbor. Give them the gift of seeing you connected to Jesus, finding your strength and joy in Him.
Raising children is not easy. Our job is to send caring, godly young men and women into the world. Our kids may not like us for it at times. There may be push back and resistance as they struggle with entitlement and selfishness. May we speak and live the truth in love to them. Don’t lose heart; our part is simply to remain faithful. We give them the gift, but then it is in their hands. And God is good. He is the one who finishes what he starts.
Place these words on your hearts. Get them deep inside you. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder. Teach them to your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning until you fall into bed at night. Inscribe them on the doorposts and gates of your cities so that you’ll live a long time, and your children with you, on the soil that God promised to give your ancestors for as long as there is a sky over the Earth. Deuteronomy 11:19-21