When our children are small and developing, we can look at parenting as a series of gifts that we give but also definitely receive. We try to give our children the gift of time, the gift of rest, the gift of health and we help shape the environment and provide choices within a framework that supports this. Our children give us their unconditional love, their precious firsts and lasts, the ordinary and extraordinary.
However, the idea of gifting can be a way to reframe how our priorities align in relationships within the home. For example, I may not value an early bedtime, but in understanding and knowing that my spouse needs time at night, I can choose to gift a structure for the family that is suitable and aligns with the priorities I have in loving someone. There are a million and one ways in which we can give gifts to each other in a family setting.
As our children grow and become young adults, it often becomes increasingly hard to shape their environment and the choices they often make are their own. Did we teach them well enough to recognize what they need versus what they want, what gifts others brings to them, but also what gifts they have to offer the family and the world?
Living in harmony often requires an introspection and consensus building approach. It is rare that the adults in the house value exactly the same things all the way around. Or perhaps it is a process of focusing on the large areas of alignment and letting the smaller areas go. Gifting each other in love with what the other person needs, and in seeing what we need and desire from others, can become a profound experience of joy.
Sometimes in discerning this it is easy to start with a list of things that we do not want or do not enjoy, or the things we feel are not going well in our homes. However, this can transform into a place of power to consider how our needs are being met and how we help meet the needs of others where those people are. Where are we all most aligned as a family, where are we not, and how do we build consensus across this divide?
Wishing you all lightness and peace within your homes.