e give our children many gifts in their lifetime, but what will we give them that will be with them forever? Definitely not the newest Wii game or Barbie house. These gifts will be broken or lost a few years after receiving them. These material possessions will most likely be forgotten over time.
The gifts our children will remember, shape who they become, and will be passed on to their children are the non-material gifts they receive. I recently asked friends to tell me the greatest non-material gift they have given their children. I received a variety of answers from men and women in all different stages of life. Some who responded are new parents and some are grandparents. Some are married and some are separated or divorced.
The Best Non-Material Gifts given to Children
- Time and attention
- Life, then love
- Laughter in the home
- A loving, connected family to grow up in
- Fostering self confidence and creative freedom
- Unconditional love
- Respect and trust
- The confidence to make good choices on their own
- An understanding of the world they live in–and to give to those who are in need
- A good community in which to be raised–knowing that it takes a village to do this successfully
- Teaching perseverance
- The knowledge that anything is possible with hard work
I enjoyed reading what my friends shared and was impressed with some of the answers. I agree with everything shared, but feel one gift is missing:
An amicable divorce
Before separating I read about the affects of divorce on children, spoke to a child psychologist, and a school counselor. I was terrified that all the other gifts I have given my children would be for naught as I ruined their lives with divorce. I worried about the lifelong affects and wondered how badly this would scar them. What I learned from reading and speaking to professionals is that the kids would survive, possibly even thrive, if they were able to experience an amicable divorce. Their greatest chance for success now and in the future was if we could give them this gift.
If I worried so much, why didn’t I work on my marriage? That might be a question that pops into some readers’ minds. I did try–really hard and for a long time. The situation continued to get worse to the point where divorce was what was best not just for me, but for all four of us. Yes, even the kids. The kids needed a different home life. And yet, knowing all of this, I still worried I was doing irrevocable harm to them.
Giving my children the gift of an amicable divorce is not a gift I ever wanted to give them. At times it took a great deal of maturity, love for them, and self control to continue to give this gift. By maintaining a keen focus on my children through this entire process, I have unexpectedly given myself a gift as well;
I am more at peace. I have an opportunity to remain friends with my ex because there was not irrevocable damage done in the divorce process. I also feel better as a mom
that I put my children first in a process where it is easy to lose perspective.
What is the greatest non-material gift you have given your children?
If you have experienced divorce, is there any specific non-material gift that helped your children with the divorce?