Have you ever played the game, “If you could take only 3 things to a deserted island, what would you take?” It makes you stop and wonder, “What is really important to me?”
I have thought of this in reference to what types of things I would like to give to my children. If I could bequeath them three things (besides unconditional love, really is the only thing that truly matters!), what would they be?
I have determined I would want to give them the following three things: Passion, Patience & Perseverance.
The first thing I would like to give my child is Passion – for life, for their dreams and for living and loving. “Passion propels you” is a quote I once read. This is so true. What is it that we are so excited about that we pursue it with unrelenting fervor? Wouldn’t that be an awesome gift to give our children?
Here’s the thing…it is hard to give a gift you do not possess.
In other words, how many of us live a life of passion (and I am not strictly talking about sex, here!) How many of us wake up, pump our fists in the air and say, “woo-hoo, another day to live the dream!” It’d be pretty awesome to have that bubbling up and spilling over to our children, wouldn’t it? I’m pretty sure that’d be rather inspiring.
So, how do we cultivate passion in our children? Most likely, they already have a passion for something. The question is are we honoring it and acknowledging it? They did not come here for us to squeeze them into some pre-formed mold of our own making. When they wish and dream about what they want to “do when they get big” do we accept it, encourage it and help them find ways to fulfill that? Even if they are going to change their minds several times, isn’t it always cool to have someone believe in you and your ability to make what you want happen, happen? If nothing else, we set up a practice of believing in our children and supporting them and begin to foster in them the passion for believing in themselves!
The next thing I would give them would be Patience. Sometimes waiting is just difficult. Yet in the waiting we learn so much about ourselves and how to cultivate our different strengths. (experiment – kid with marshmellos).
How do we give the gift of patience? First and foremost, we must be practicing it ourselves and demonstrating it. Yea, I AM talking about driving, here….our kids are watching when we get so angry about traffic, or silently (OK, not so silently, sometimes) curse someone who pulls in front of us. We cannot give away what we do not possess. We live in an instantaneous society. We can get instant messages, instant news, instant music, instant dinners…the list goes on and on. We do not care much for waiting. Even when we’re waiting for something, we are generally distracting our impatient selves with a phone app, listening to music or chatting on the phone.
Cultivating patience in children requires patience.
We want to teach them to slow down, wait for it and find the waiting time to be a time of peaceful surrender. The time spent waiting is going to be the same whether we’re balled up in a knot and the vein in our necks are popping out or we are sitting peacefully enjoying a moment of silence.
The gift of patience is patience. It’s worth waiting for.
The last gift I would give my child is Perseverance – Ah…the gift of, “keep on keeping on.” It’s so easy to give up. When my son was in the throes of autism, one of the things I had to do was to break things down for him. He was overwhelmed with multi-level tasks when they were not broken down into smaller, more manageable tasks.
I have learned with most children it is the same way. Many of life’s tasks are daunting, but if we break them down, we can manage them. Today, I am continually perplexed at the number of children who really do not understand the concept of perseverance. Earning money, doing extra chores and saving up for something seems to be in the archaic parenting category. Simply sticking with something until it is done does not seem to be something our children are learning.
My daughter, at age six wanted a toy…she saved her allowance and did odd jobs to earn extra money. She’s only six, so I set it up so the process only took a few weeks, but the point was not instantaneous gratification. Growing plants is another great way to teach a child perseverance, or learning a new skill. When we teach children to stick with something, it gives them the ability to manifest their dreams into a reality.
“Do not be discouraged. It is often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.” I want to give my kids the keys to success…I just want to make sure they are willing to keep trying the “keys” until one opens the door to their success!
Giving the gifts of passion, patience and perseverance are gifts that will not require a gift receipt.
It’s an investment with great returns.
Oh, and we just might get a little something out of it ourselves!