We were spoiled with a surprisingly late extended Fall as some people were wearing shorts in November, yet living in Manitoba a cold winter is inevitable. However, winter is often synonymous with the holiday season and then comes the commercialization bombardment of gifts. What often gets neglected in the process, especially with our children is giving back exhibiting acts of kindness. We tend to preach that certain priorities are important during the holiday season, yet some of the core values that we embody and try to ensure our children take on, become lost. We are living in a very tense world right now and exuding kindness can do more for us physiologically than we tend to realize.
We are raising our children in a world of instant gratification and ignoring core values that emphasize giving without any need for receiving. Often empowering our children and teenagers to give altruistically can spike an endorphin rush leading to the improvement of their mood and overall level of happiness. As we are living in a world that has been revealing a lot more hatred and negativity spread across the World Wide Web, perhaps this year, stop, step back and focus your holiday themes of our children giving back through their own acts of kindness, acts of service, and acts of emphasizing more positivity. Instead of heightening emotions in anticipation of what you may be “getting” rather focus on what you can be giving. The type of giving that does not come wrapped in a box with wrapping paper but more so with depth, intention and a focus on others to help spike an energy of positivity selflessness that we have been missing.
It is time to stop, step back, and think about what values need to be prioritized over the coming weeks. Take that time to slow down, remove yourself from various forms of social media that attempt to portray some idyllic image of what these holidays mean to you and your family and instead get real, authentic, and genuine with your children about giving back to others BEFORE they are ready to receive anything. Evaluate how many of the pictures that you post online of your family involving giving to others versus what your children are receiving. The many acts of kindness that your children can engage in over these holidays can range from preparing or delivering food for people, giving gifts to others less fortunate, initiating and engaging in conversations with people, and most importantly slowing down to smile. These simple acts can shift a mood and mindset for the sender and receiver. Most importantly, prioritizing acts of kindness can give a different meaning to psychological well-being during a time of year that is not easy to keep balanced. Focus less on where you may be going this holiday season and shift to who you will be with and what will keep you most present.