One of my all-time favorite wedding anniversaries is one John and I celebrated at home eating a simple dinner of spaghetti, salad and garlic bread. We ate it in the living room of our house, sitting across from one another at a makeshift table complete with candlelight (even though the room wasn’t very dark) and music (80s country, if my memory serves me well).
Now before you start accusing John of being a big spender and Romeo of the year, let me finish by telling you that the meal was completely planned, prepared, and served by our three daughters, who were 3, 10, and 12 at the time. It was their idea. Their gift to us. And get this: they even cleaned up afterwards-without the help of their older brother who was at a cross-country meet.
I can still see them wearing their aprons (aka dish towels) around their waists, writing down our ‘order’ and checking to see if everything tasted okay. But even more than that, I can still see and hear the excitement and sense of pride they felt for being able to do something special for us. And it truly was special.
It was special because I got out of the way and let the girls express their love the very best way they could think of. Had I denied their request to take over the kitchen or even help them, it wouldn’t have been the same. It wouldn’t have been nearly as special for them or for me.
Yes, John and I enjoyed a yummy and romantic dinner (how could it not be romantic when so much love went in to fixing it). But we didn’t get nearly as much from that evening as the girls did. In allowing our girls to give their gift, their way, they were able to use their talents and abilities with confidence in order to serve others. My girls were also reminded that it really is even more special to give than to receive.
So parents, I want to encourage you to get out of your kids’ way and let them give from their hearts using the talents and abilities they have within them. Don’t restrict them to making cards, dropping a few cans of food in a box, or donating unwanted toys. Those things are okay, but your kids have lots more to offer and they really want to do so much more than that…if you’ll let them.
Copyright 2017 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.