Why do we give gifts to others that we honestly want for ourselves? We have to be taught to think of others first and to be attentive.
Think of the precious four-year-old princess who draws her daddy a purple unicorn on his birthday card because she is convinced it will be his favorite card. And, of course, because she has drawn it for him, it is his favorite card! When he hangs it in his office, her impression that Daddy loves purple unicorns has been confirmed and more purple unicorns are created in his honor.
As she gets older, Daddy’s princess realizes that his favorite color is actually blue, so he begins receiving blue unicorn pictures.
Daddy may tell her personally or Mama may step in with some different gift suggestions, but eventually, Daddy’s princess will realize that he doesn’t treasure her purple or blue unicorns because he prefers them, but because he prefers her and her act of love towards him! We can train our children to be more attentive to those they love and give gifts that make people feel loved and known.
What questions can we train our children to ask to help them be more attentive gift givers?
- What does dad spend most of his free time doing? Does he spend most of his free time reading books? Working on the car? Hiking? Based on this answer, your children can start giving dad gifts that will be resources for him to use as he relaxes. When dad realizes his princess is paying attention to what he enjoys, it will make him feel considered and important.
- What does my sister do when she has time alone? Does she like to draw? Maybe the best gift would be a sketch book and some colored pencils. Does she play guitar? How about a pack of guitar picks? Is she trying to redecorate her room? A gift card to Target or IKEA attached to a new bulletin with thumbtacks board might be just the thing to make her feel loved and known.
- What does my brother keep saying he wants to get with his birthday money? Is your brother saving up for the next Mario game? Consider getting him a gift card to GameStop to shorten the time he has to wait to buy the game. Does he really want to see the next superhero movie? AMC gift cards are a great option to foot that bill for him. He will feel heard and be excited to use his gift for something he actually wants!
Teaching our children attentiveness to their family members prepares them to be attentive spouses and parents. What a beautiful gift that keeps on giving!
Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people! Proverbs 18:16
How have you taught your children to be attentive to others?