As a Child & Family Therapist specializing in working with gifted children, I could offer up some tips on how to avoid holiday meltdowns or give guidance on the perfect sensory gift for your child. However, I have observed that the objects that preoccupy adults are not what is on the forefront of many children’s minds.
Many gifted children are worried about their future. Some kids can be minimalistic while others are enamored with “things.” Sometimes those “things” give them a tangible focus and provide a temporary comfort. It is in the playful maneuvering of “things” that children are able to feel some sense of control in their world.
Things are nice, but it is hope that is essential for survival. My young clients care about the natural world, specifically its animals, the mountains and the oceans. They care about us as a species. They desperately want harmony, but all they see is destruction and complacency. They see and feel the division which exists between neighbors and families and countries and they smell the scent of war wafting in the air. They tell me that they don’t think our planet will be here in the next 100 years. In their play, they repeatedly show adults lying down – “they are sleeping” they say.
I look around and I look at myself and I see that they are right. We talk and talk, but what are we actually doing? We sit on our couches debating about current leadership and sometimes throw a stone or two via social media. But what are we DOING? We are gifted. We are smart. We are strong-willed and opinionated. We are warriors, but we are sleeping.
This holiday season, the greatest gift we can give our children is to wake up and show them that we are taking action. In a time when there is little to believe in, we must show them that they can believe in us. We are a wildly creative bunch with endless ideas so I invite you to come up with some that you can implement during the holidays. I will include a few for inspiration.
- Bring your own bags when shopping, not only at grocery stores but the mall as well.
- If you own your own business, consider posting a sign on the front door requiring everyone to bring recyclable bags. Do not hand out plastic bags. If someone absolutely needs one, charge them extra to purchase it.
- Minimize tangible gifts and focus instead on meaningful experiences such as a family creativity night, a hike, ice skating, a scavenger hunt, roller skating, or bowling.
- Invite someone to dinner with whom you don’t see eye-to-eye and seek out areas of commonality.
- Invite neighbors over to make music out of anything you can find and sing together – modeling connection over perfection.
- Have a family meeting and discuss what you can do together to help the environment and bring people together.
I would love to hear the ideas that you and your family come up with and I know others would as well. Please share by commenting here or on my Guiding Bright Facebook page.
Have a wonderful week!