What is the best gift that you give your child on your birthday? Is it something they need, or something they want or something special you would like to give them which would last with them for a lifetime.
Miss A, turned 6 last week. I had thought that I will give her 6 gifts on her special day. I kept wondering what I should give her. If I look at her wardrobe, she does not need clothes, since she has many. In fact, she has a world of plenty with toys, clothes, books, crayons, fancy pencils, erasers, sharpeners and shoes. You name it and the probability is that she already has it or has just outgrown it. Though she has everything she takes care of her things be it toys, books very well. And what amazes me is that she has never asked us or thrown any tantrums for any of these. It was indeed becoming harder and harder for me to rattle my brain for the same.
Finally, I came up with the idea of a new dress with shoes, a doll (Elsa from Frozen as she already has Ana), some story books, crayons again and a heart-shaped keychain (I know this does not make sense, but only because it had sequins which can change colour – as she is fascinated with the colourful sequins). Though the six things shortlisted and gifted are materialistic and she really did not need them, I still went ahead with the same.
On the eve of her birthday, I along with the already bought and wrapped presents came up with another six things which I hope will prove to be valuable for her as she grows. But to be able to give her these 6 things first I had to inculcate the same in my behaviour, talking and mannerism towards her. This sounded great and like a challenge set against none other but me!
The six valuable things I wanted to give her through me were … the gift of generosity, respect, kindness, honesty, patience and cleanliness. I have been instilling these in her from the very beginning, but as children grow they interact with many people and situations. These times often test them and this is what I want to prepare her for.
Like all mothers I also want my daughter to think of others and share with everyone. No doubt she does it amazingly. There have been incidences when she has divided a small chocolate into 3 equal pieces just to share it with everyone. But what I want her to learn is that generosity should be a part of her lifestyle rather than just performing certain acts. Generosity does not mean the involvement of money but also small acts of sharing a cookie, helping with chores, planting seeds, taking care of the pets and any little thing which makes someone happy.
When I talk about Respect, I have to work on myself. I cannot be rude and disrespectful to her or anyone if I want her to respect others. A few days back, she had created a mess and I instead of asking her to clear up, screamed at her as I was angry. She looked at me and without listening to me walked out of the room. This made me angrier as she was disrespecting me now. But when I was calm, I gave it a thought, how would I like if someone screamed at me. I am sure she listened to me that day but I sent out a wrong message to her that she can be rude to people. That night I sat with her and asked her if she was hurt when I screamed at her. She nodded. I apologised (it is indeed important to apologise to your child when you are wrong) and we patched up. But the whole incident taught me to stay calm and to patiently listen to my daughter where she could narrate her emotions which helped me understand her cause for anger. Also, if I want her to respect others, I have to respect her and be a good role model for her.
As a parent, I always hope that my child is kind. But sometimes I also land up making choices and forget that there is someone watching me all the time. But Kindness is one act that can be learned. Our brain has mirror neurons which helps us to imitate. These cells are very active in childhood, thus when a child sees some action, their brain answers as if they are doing the task themselves. To encourage kindness in my daughter I pledge to send kind thoughts across her way, smile more often, pay compliments to people and be a better person so that she can be a better and a kinder person in turn.
Now that she is 6, she knows when I am making up a story and when I am telling her the actual thing. She asked me for cake and I said it is over. However, she found it in the kitchen cupboard, and the look on her face said everything. She does not lie yet, but I have to take care not to praise her for bad behaviour. I have to make sure that I don’t label her and don’t nag her and don’t run her down with my questions. For her, to be Honest, I have to help her by me staying calm, praising her when really worth it and respecting her as well as other’s feelings.
If I want her to be Patient, I have to be patient. Each morning when she is getting ready for school, I literally lose my patience. She does her work so slowly that I feel she will miss her bus. But this is where and situations like this I have to be more patient so that she can ape me. But yes, if it is waiting at the airport, doctor’s office or at a grocery store then things can be totally different 🙂 owing to the situation that can arise.
When it comes to cleanliness, my daughter is a cleanliness freak. She is one step ahead of me. But still, I want to gift her this as good hygiene is the key towards good health. I often assign her the responsibility to clean up after her play time, meal time. I taught my daughter to wind up her toys when she was a toddler. So yes that is not really difficult. As she learns to take the responsibility of cleaning the mess she has created she will respect her things more. In a similar manner, I want her to clean harsh moments and feelings from her brain and never think about the same.
This indeed is a long list, and as she grows another year older, I wish her a superb sixth birthday.
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Linking this with Corinne’s #Monday Musings