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26 Gifts Your Children Will Never Forget

26 Gifts Your Children Will Never Forget

You love your children. You want them to have a great childhood, and to live a happy and fulfilling life.  As parents, this is 100% your responsibility. Your children will not have another relationship during their lifetime that will have greater positive or negative impacts than their relationship with you, so you cannot take this responsibility lightly.

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding, yet challenging roles we can play in life. Although there is no instruction manual for parenting, there is a lot of great information at your fingertips to support your efforts in giving your children what they need to grow into happy, strong, fulfilled adults.

Below is a list of 26 gifts we can give our children that they will never forget, and are as easy as A, B, and C.

Affirmation

Everyone needs to be told they are valued, worthy, and doing a good job. Your kids are no different. By affirming them you are making them more secure and confident.

Boundaries

Whether we want to admit it or not, we like boundaries. These provide your children clear expectations and certainty, and not only do they like that, but the more consistent we are, the more consistent our children will be.

Confidence

I have two children and above everything else, my # 1 goal is that my children reach adulthood with confidence. The sooner we focus on helping our children be confident, the easier their lives will be. Confident people are simply focused on more productive things rather than getting caught up with drama, worry, and self-destructive thoughts and actions. With bullying being such a big issue in our culture, confidence is the best solution. Self-assured kids don’t bully, nor do they put up with being bullied.

Discipline

Like boundaries, we hate to admit that we need and even like discipline, but we do, and our kids need it too. They need to be guided down a productive path and held accountable when they veer off that path. They need to be able to count on the fact that there are consequences to their actions, both positive and negative.

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Expectations

As parents to young children, we are the “life experts” and if we don’t set expectations and guide them accordingly, they will find another set of values and rules to follow. They need clear expectations.

Friendship

Don’t confuse this with being their friend. Parents don’t need to be their children’s friends: they will have plenty of those. We need to be their parents. Children need to learn how to have healthy and productive relationships with other people, and that starts with us.

Gratitude

Teaching our children to be thankful impacts other things like a positive attitude and appreciation for both people and things.

Healthy Home Culture

Is your home culture productive or destructive? Is it positive or negative? Are you setting a good example? What kind of people are your children learning to become within the walls of your home? We are all the results of the environments we grew up in, and there is no environment with a greater impact than your home.

Identity

Our identity is the result of our past. When our children reach adulthood, their idenity will be the result of their past experiences and relationships with us.  We must lead and guide our children so they have a confident and positive attitude about themselves, helping them avoid self-imposed barriers and suffering from what I refer to as an “Identity Crisis.  When you Google the words “define identity crisis” the following definition appears:

“a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society.”

As parents, it is our jobs to give our children certainty and eliminate any confusion that will create insecurity and ultimately impact their quality of life.

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Jokes

Some of the best times I have with my kids are in the car where I’m joking around and acting like a fool. My son demands more and my daughter tells me how much I am embarrassing her, all the while trying to stop herself from laughing.

Kindness

No need to elaborate here. Be kind to your children and teach them to be kind to others.

Love

I believe the words LOVE and RESPECT are the two most important words in parenting. We must set the example by not only showing love and respect for others, but for ourselves. We must show our children love and respect while holding them accountable for having a positive attitude about themselves and why it’s important to show love and respect to other.

Mentoring

Our kids get hammered with thousands of messages every single day, most of which don’t do not have their best interest in mind. They are either going to learn things from us, or from someone/something else out there. You want them to learn things from you. I don’t care how you look at it or what you call it. Your children need your attention, guidance, and leadership.

Never Giving Up

Giving up is just a symptom of a bigger problem; a bad attitude. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and our kids are going to get knocked around and challenged plenty. Quitting and giving up is the path of least resistance and if they aren’t challenged to keep going, taking the path of least resistance will become habit. Few people experience fulfillment and success in life by giving up.

Optimism

Few things are more challenging than dealing with people who are pessimistic and negative. Our children must be held accountable for their bad attitudes and it is up to us show them there is a more productive way to live.

Passion

When people are passionate about what they do, the harder they will work, and the more fulfillment they will experience. We need to pay attention to what our children are passionate about and provide the opportunities and resources for them to explore and excel.

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Quiet Time

Many children are over-stimulated to the point they go nuts when they don’t have anything to do. Quiet time allows them to relax, think, and use their imagination. Turn off the TV, DVD players, tablets, phones, and gaming systems and let them figure out how to use their time.

Reading Time

Like anything else, the more time our children invest in reading, the better they will become. This starts with us reading to them at a young age and encouraging them to read on their own as they get older. A child’s reading ability impacts their confidence and enjoyment with school, as well overall confidence and success in life.

Security

Security is the foundation of confidence. Insecure people think about themselves and the world very differently than people who are secure and confident. I am a big fan of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, which suggests that insecurity impacts the relationships we build with others, as well as our self-confidence, and our ability to reach our potential. I truly believe that if we as parents raise our children to be secure and confident they will figure things out.

Talks

We need to be our children’s greatest influencers and that won’t happen if our children don’t have the ability to or don’t feel comfortable talking to us. The more we talk and build comfort and trust the more they will open up.

Unconditional Love

Our children must know that regardless of who they are and what they do, we will always love them.  Now, unconditional love does not mean you don’t discipline them or hold them accountable.  They are going to screw up and do stupid things, but we are the one relationship they need to be able to count on and we need them to depend on, in good and bad times.

Values

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is one of my favorite books and had probably had the greatest foundational impact on my life. Seven Habits taught me that the most important thing a person can do is articulate their values and create a vision for their life and make decisions based on those values. When a person makes decisions based on things that are meaningful and important to them, they can never go wrong.

We must first understand our values, but also talk to our children about values to that will help them live a productive and fulfilling life.

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Wonder

Wonder and curiosity are the keys to critical thinking and learning. We want our children to look at the world, ask questions, and have a desire to know more. We must be active in their learning when they are young and support them in their process of discovery.

Xenodochial

The definition of xenodochial is “being friendly to strangers”. Our children’s attitudes of the world will be a reflection of our attitude. Xenodocial aligns nicely with the love and respect I talked about above.

Youthfulness

When I think of the word “youthful”, I think of words like fun, energetic, creative, curious, passionate, imaginative, brave, open-minded, and happy.

At 35 I hope I am still all those things. Too many people follow a plan or conform to expectations that leave them unemotionally wandering through life. I don’t want that for my kids.

The world is full of all kinds of great stuff to get excited about and we need to share this with our kids.

Zeal

“Great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective”.

What are your kids passionate about? What cause can you pursue together that will show them the impact they can have on the world with the right attitude and action?

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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