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Thoughts on Giving

on Tue, 11/13/2012 - 10:55

Thanksgiving. Christmas. Chanukah. Kwaanza. It’s that time of year when millions of us plunge headlong into the season of GIFTS!

Sometimes we forget important ideas like “’tis a gift to be simple.” Children help us remember. For example, after a day of creativity workshops with classes in a nearby school, I was packing my stuff in the gym when a group of children ran in to practice a dance they were working on. I stopped everything to admire their delightful energy and patterns. As I left the gym, some of the children called out, “Mimi! Thanks for watching us!”

Deeply touched by their appreciative farewell, I thought of the many times we adults do not notice activities or accomplishments of children. Distracted, texting, chatting, or just disconnected, we miss the opportunities to give children the precious gift of being there, watching them, sharing their joy or pride.

Many people consider the most important gifts the songs we sing to each other, the stories we tell, the walks together that share wonder and delight, the laughter as we recall a funny incident or simply a comforting shoulder for a child or friend to lean on during a difficult time.

That 10-minute stroll with a child to see the changing of the leaves or deliver a plate of cookies to a friend recovering from surgery is a precious gift—so many times more meaningful than an expensive toy wrapped in a box, played with for a while, and often tossed aside while the child plays with the empty box!

A mom and a young son had a few minutes to wait before the play they were attending began. While they waited, the mother read a picture book to the child, who snuggled comfortably against her. After the play, I asked the boy, “What was your favorite part?” His answer was another lesson for us. He said, “My favorite part was Mommy reading the story!”

During this holiday season, let us remember the most precious gifts: being together, sharing simple acts of beauty and lovingness and fun. Not all gifts are found in catalogs or websites. The simple gifts we cherish are always returned!

Known and loved for her vitality and individuality, Mimi Chenfeld has been teaching and sharing her deep love of children for over 50 years.


Thanks for reminding us to take the small moments to share with children. Recently in my Pre-K class, a child who often has difficulty in social situations was especially helpful to a classmate. I commented on her helpfulness and she responded, "No problem" and went about her business.

Most people today forget that life is not about accumulating goods and money, but about sharing time with the people you care about. Thanks for reminding me this.  

This article sent a wave of warmth through my heart. It made me remember to focus on my desire to  be thankful for the little things everyday and not just during holiday times. I am so lucky to be around young children who learn and discover, who fall asleep when I sing them a lullabye, and who make me laugh everyday. I am very lucky to be a part of such a rewarding profession.