What I Want to Give This Year

gift givingBy Peggy Wuenstel — It seems to be a mark of adulthood that the joy of Christmas presents comes from the giving more than the getting.

The pleasure we can take in finding the perfect thing to share with family and friends is one of the highlights of the holiday season. Being a gifted giver often stems from having an intimate knowledge of your recipients, their likes and dislikes, their collections and aspirations.

It goes beyond choosing the right size and the right color to selecting things that fit into the life they live or that they want to live. It might be an exceptional bottle of wine, a super soft sweater or tickets for the concert of the season. I spent a few hours in line the stores on Black Friday and on-line on Cyber Monday. I’ll also shop my local merchants on their buy local weekend. I try to shop with a social conscience, where workers are treated well and products and corporate tax policies benefit the greater good.

As I crossed names off of lists, I found myself wanting to give deeper presents, the kind that don’t come in a box or from a website. They are the things that I hope I can share with my students in the coming year. By doing so, I will also be giving to myself.         .

  •  A sense of humor and fun, the ability to laugh at ourselves, but not at the expense of others.
  •  A feeling of security, knowing that we matter, even when we the ones who need the help and are not in a position to offer it
  •  The gift of generosity, a willingness to freely share the support and acceptance which are greater riches than advice, assistance or monetary resources
  • A peaceful place within where we can be content with what we have, what we do and who we are
  •  Enough quality sleep and the realization that rest and relaxation are essential to learning, mental health and well-being
  • A healthy lifestyle that includes good choices in food, activity, and relationships
  • Partners at home, work and school that share the blessings and the burdens, smooth out the bumps, fill in the pot holes in the roads we will travel this year
  • Creativity in our approach to problems, to filling our lives with art and music and to appreciating the inventive gifts of others in this world.
  • Courage in approaching every challenge that comes along, especially in dealing with the frustration that we feel when we are not up to the tests placed before us
  •  Tact, that ability to be honest and constructive while offering correction and criticism in ways that foster the achievement of the ultimate goals we set for ourselves
  •  Self –Control, that balance of being able to feel passionately without being controlled by emotion; to laugh, cry and rage when needed and to show restraint when that it called for
  • The willingness to nurture others, to feel the pride and excitement in someone else’s achievements when we have had a small part in fostering them.
  •  Patience to deal with the inevitable delays, disappointments and derailments that are a part of everyday life
  •  Wisdom, which is significantly different than intelligence, because it calls for application of knowledge and sharing it with others, today and for the future
  •  Forgiveness, because retained anger really only hurts the person who holds on to it so tightly that they can’t open their arms or hearts to anything else
  • Optimism in the face of a picture that is not painted in as bright a palette as we would like, and the rose colored lenses that can transform the view
  •  Gratitude, because unless we look at what we already possess, it is easy to lose count of the blessings we have already received.

In this season of miracles, it would be wonderful to find that every child and every teacher awakes on Christmas morning and finds what they need to make a life for themselves and a difference in the world.

As for me, I’ll keep trying to unwrap the gifts that I have already received and to do so with great thanks.

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