Best Gift Ever!
I got a text from my daughter this week with a photo attached. It said, “Best gift ever—learning to sew last year! Thanks again.” I couldn’t help but smile.
A year ago, we gave her sewing lessons for Christmas. She had been asking me to teach her for years, but weeks turned into months turned into years and we still hadn’t found the time. Besides, I wasn’t all that certain that I would be the best teacher for her. Then last year I purchased a new sewing machine for myself and took a few lessons to sharpen my skills.
It occurred to me then that the instructor I enjoyed learning from might also be an excellent teacher for my daughter . . . and I was right. She took several hours of instruction and learned how to use my mother’s Bernina sewing machine.
In short order she began turning out all kinds of projects including new curtains for her home, alterations to clothing, and gifts for others. We could have given her a lot of things, but none would have been as valuable in the long run as the gift of learning a new skill.
Giving a gift that enables someone to do something new is a lot like the saying that goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
It strikes me that giving a gift that enables someone to do something new is a lot like the saying that goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” When we give a gift that teaches someone how to do something new, we give a gift that keeps on giving and giving and giving.
My grandmother was an excellent seamstress and my mother marveled at how she would make dresses “without a pattern.” My mother was spectacular constructing everything from lingerie and our wedding dresses to a pop-up tent. She upholstered furniture, smocked dresses for our babies and cross-stitched snowflakes on our Christmas dresses.
I was never as proficient as she was, but I did learn to sew, embroider and quilt. Now I had the opportunity to pass that love of creating with fabric and the associated skills along to my daughter through the gift of sewing lessons. From what I have seen, she is embracing the family tradition.
This causes me to wonder about how we might be intentional in passing along the skills associated with having a healthy marriage. Those of us who grew up in a happy, healthy, stable home may think that having a good marriage comes naturally, but we’d probably be wrong.
The world has changed and couples today face many challenges we did not in the early years of our marriages.
Learning the skills to communicate well about the challenges facing today’s families is a must. Resolving conflict safely without damaging words and building resentment is essential. Keeping fun and friendship alive after the babies come and the years roll on is critical. Skills-based relationship education can make all the difference in helping couples attain the kind of home and marriage they want for themselves and their children.
Why not consider giving it to someone you love?
A year from now Christmas will roll around again. When it does, will you be getting a thank-you note, an email or a text from someone you love? Imagine how you would feel if you read the following:
“Best gift ever—reconnecting with my kids after my divorce was life-changing. Thanks for helping me know how to connect.”
“Best gift ever—learning about how to have a healthy relationship. That is a gift that will keep on giving.”
“Best gift ever—helping me understand how to talk about difficult topics with my partner. We are arguing a lot less.”
“Best gift ever—providing a way for me to connect with my kids at a Cardinal’s Game. We had a great time!”
You can get involved yourself and lead by example. You can provide opportunities for dads that you love. You can help dads in our community who can’t afford access to our Good Dads services, but desperately need the help.
To learn more about opportunities available through Good Dads, including our New Pathways for Good Dads programming for at-risk fathers and our healthy relationship training, check out our website at www.gooddads.com or call our office at (417) 823-3469. We want to help you give a gift that will keep on giving for years to come.