Happy Holidaze**What Messages Do You Send?

Monday, December 19, 2011

We all have hopes and expectations during the holidays, and learning how to manage all those hopes and expectations can be life-affirming! Perhaps we should start with our overall values and goals for the holidays? What “messages” do we really want to send to our children, neighbors, other family members, about the TRUE MEANING of our holiday time? If we invest our time, energy in WHAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT, what does that look like? Is this the year we volunteer for a cause that really needs us? Do we take our kids and donate our time, energy, finances where we help them to see that helping others meets our needs as well? It’s validating to feel good that you really helped in even a small way; being a positive “solution” in a world with many negatives. Who knows where this small act of kindness could lead. Demonstrating kindness has been proven to elevate feelings of self worth and happiness. Volunteering could lead to life-long friendships. It could lead to future employment, and all sorts of other benefits. It could be as simple as baking a casserole or some cookies, or offering to do small chores for a senior in your neighborhood; or offering to babysit for parents while they shop or just enjoy time to themselves; or becoming a Big Brother/Sister for a young person who may not have a stable adult in their lives. Maybe the family “adopts” a family needing presents this year, or considers fostering or adopting one of the hundreds of children needing a more stable home. Maybe you could just write holiday cards to our servicemen and women. The options are great and varied. Ask your kids how they’d like to make a difference in our world. Remind them of what a GREAT GIFT they give to others by giving of themselves…no matter how small. Then ask them, “How good would that feel?” Feeling too overwhelmed during the holidays to attempt these ideas…that’s OK, just remember you can “sign up” your family now, and “donate” in January or whenever. There’s never a time-limit on giving. I hope you are able to fit some of these ideas into your 2012! The point is to send the important “gift” message to our kids, reminding them that our humanity is the best gift we could give! By: Carol Pool, PCAIN Education Specialist

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