The Five Best Gifts to Give Your Family
By Margaret Paul, Ph.D
When we think of giving gifts, we usually think of things to buy
for people. Yet if you think back on gifts you've been given, it
might not be the material gifts you received that are foremost in
your mind – it might be the kind of gifts that deeply touched
your heart and soul. It might be various ways, other than material
things, that people expressed their love to you.
There are five gifts of love that we can give to our families
that can make a huge difference in their lives.
The Gift of Caring and Compassion
We all yearn to feel cared for, yet many of us withhold caring
and compassion for others. A profound gift we can give to our loved
ones is to listen with our heart, to understand and accept rather
than to judge, and to stay open to learning rather than to protect
against being hurt.
Think about the last time someone actually listened to you and
gave you understanding and acceptance. The feeling of being
understood and accepted with caring and compassion is one of the
best feelings in the world. Instead of focusing on getting this
from others, why not focus on giving it to others? You might be
surprised at how wonderful you feel in giving this gift to your
The Gift of Courage
One of the best gifts we can give our loved ones is our own
courage. This means being having the courage to stand in our truth,
to be honest about what we want and don't want, what we will do and
won't do, what is and what is not acceptable to us. It means having
the courage to take good care of ourselves, even if others don't
like it. It means not succumbing to our controlling behaviors that
come from fear: anger, withdrawal, compliance, resistance, but
instead being honest and above-board about ourselves. It means
being willing to face conflict rather than give ourselves up to
When we have the courage to face conflict and tell the truth, we
not only provide our family with a role model for courage, but we
provide opportunities for our loved ones to step up to the plate in
the face of our truth and learn to be courageous too.
The Gift of Service
We are on this planet to learn to love ourselves and each other,
and to help each other. One of the best gifts we can give our
family is to role model this by doing service. Helping others fills
the heart and soul in ways that nothing else can. If children do
not see their parents doing service and helping others, they may
never learn the great joy and fulfillment that comes from giving.
One of the best gifts we can give to our family is to provide ways
of doing service.
The Gift of Creativity
All of us are born with various ways of expressing our
creativity. Expressing creativity is a profound way of connecting
with Spirit, since expressed creativity is a direct expression of
Spirit. Providing your family with many ways of expressing their
creativity is a great gift. Creativity can be expressed in so many
ways – cooking, crafts, building things, music, art, movement,
telling stories, writing, humor, photography and video – the
possibilities are endless! Creative family projects are especially
wonderful in creating family closeness.
The Gift of Lightness of Being
Lightness of being – fun, joy, laughter, playfulness – is a
great gift to give to others. Lightness of being is infectious –
our laughter and playfulness can help others take life less
seriously and "lighten up."
Lightness of being is one the results of all the other gifts –
of caring, courage, service and creativity. When we give these
gifts, we feel a wonderful lightness within, the lightness that is
the result of fully giving from the heart. Our own lightness of
being can bring lightness into our whole family. Children love it
when their parents are playful, fun loving and joyful. Laughing
together as a family is one of the most precious experiences in
We need to focus of giving these gifts each day, not just during
a holiday season or special occasions. These gifts are far more
important than any material thing we can buy for someone. In fact,
we might not be so focused on material gifts if we frequently give
the gift of love – of caring, compassion, courage, service,
creativity, and lightness of being.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D., Los Angeles, CA, USA
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight
books, including "