It’s The Thought That Counts...Which One?!

Overheard around our kitchen table...

“Hey Kids! Guess what Mom & Dad want for Christmas?”

“What?” “Tell me!” “No, me first!”...

“First, a GREAT attitude during out next family outing...”

“That’s WAY too hard. Can’t I just buy you something?”

“Next, five tastes of a new food without making a fuss...”

Our ten year old stripped the holiday décor off our wishes: “You want us to obey in the areas where we disobey!” 

“That’s stupid!” retorted our status-conscious teen. “Good presents we (meaning the parents) buy.”

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Do Thoughts Count?

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Attributed to Frank Outlaw

You bet they do!

The Thought That Counts = Any Thought

Listening to Christmas carols reminded me of the phrase, “It’s the thought that counts.” One song told of God sending his son Jesus to earth as a gift to mankind. Separation from a loved one for the benefit of another is a precious gift. It wasn’t any thought; it was the most perfect “pensée” and a wondrous implementation.

A trivial thought rarely leads to action. “I thought of you but did nothing about it,” means “You’re not important.” Remind your kids to avoid giving those to mom and dad!

The Giver’s Thought

A gift needs to be voluntarily given for the thought to count. A coerced present backfires; after all, resentment and bitterness are thoughts too. It’s exhausting cleaning up the emotional debris of vengeful actions and disgruntled character traits!

Parents can encourage a reticent volunteer towards willing generosity. It’s part of our parenting job to teach our precious children that we live in a give and take (vs. take and maybe give) world.

Our family benefited from the advice of the Dilley family (sextuplets). They differentiated between rights and privileges. Do you...or do the children reign as royalty with parent serfs deigning to satisfy progeny’s whims? It’s easy to fall into the trap. Having been there, let me assure you that it is effort-requiring yet totally possible to break free from the snare. (Read more)

The Receiver’s Thought

The kitchen table exchange continued (not so generously) in my mind: “Don’t bother offering me a Christmas present without giving me the receipt as well. I’ll return the trinket that you purchase to pay off your consistent rebellion.”

Oh, oh. It’s the season for peace, love & joy.

There is no gift exchange without an eager giver and a gracious receiver. The thought of the receiver (especially as a parent) is not to judge. My teen may buy me something and hang onto his rebellious spirit. His gift will be my reminder to persevere...in prayer, in love (especially when it’s tough), and with perspective (humor).

Happy Gift Giving and Receiving


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