Gifts Vs Experiences

I am going to be sharing with you how it is that you help a young person to appreciate more by giving them less. To be perfectly honest, when I say that we are giving them more by giving them less actually we’re not really giving them less but what we are going to be making a conscious effort to do is to give them less physical stuff and to also educate and encourage them to seek out that physical stuff less.

Generally, gifts and technology break quickly and that means that when we are providing our young people with physical stuff the chances are this physical stuff isn’t going to last them. It’s not going to give them a lifetime of happiness but something else can.

Experiences –  Good memories are not just the backbone of bonding experiences between families, friends and even between pupils and teachers. Good experiences have so much to teach us about how we engage and interact with the world and how we overcome certain challenges.

It’s the stuff that you talk about when you’re 80 years old and in an old people’s home. You talk about if you’re fortunate enough to still have your memory by then. You talk about your experiences and good past memories. No one’s going to be in an old people’s home at age 80 talking about their iPhone 13 and the happy times they had together. I know obviously not everybody celebrates Christmas so this is just something to install in yourselves for all of the future no matter what your religious disposition may be. But it’s a good time for to mention the fact that whilst those things can bring a degree of happiness, you get used to this stuff being around. The happiness can wear off, it can fade away and stuff can break.

However, your memories don’t wear off and over time you can revisit a good memory and remember it in HD, true colour with all of the surround sounds that you need to re-experience the good feelings that come with that particular memory. Instead of buying gifts that we can stick in a box and wrap up is to maybe start thinking about providing experiences, go somewhere and do something really special. Get some great photos on the day. It could be that you give them the choice of what they would like to do but it has to be about doing something together so that memories can be created and those bonding experiences with the young people that are important can be created. 

Your role is to highlight to them all the good reasons for doing this and how to manage their feelings around seeing somebody else getting an iPhone whereas they got a day trip and what that means to them or a holiday or something like that! Parents – your job is to buck the trend, make a different decision. 

There’s one particular boy that I can remember working with in a school. I asked “what did you get for your birthday?” and he said “seven days in Majorca”. I remember thinking how unusual it was for an 11-year-old boy to get a holiday for a present and so I challenged him and asked was this holiday really for you or was this holiday for mum and dad? He said mum and dad obviously enjoyed it but he had picked the place he wanted to go to and seeing everybody else being there and having a great time with him was the best present he could have had.

By Gemma Bailey

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