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The Greatest Gifts Don’t Come In A Shiny Wrapped Package

The holidays are a wonderful time to reflect back on the gifts you’ve received over your life. We’re not talking about the types of gifts that can be wrapped in a shiny box or fit under a Christmas tree — but the ones that live in your heart and stay with you daily.

Parenting Now asked community members to share with us what they are most grateful for or to share a treasured “gift” that their parents passed down to them. Here’s what they had to say:

“When I was a shy teenager, my father coached me to hide my hesitation and introduce myself to new people with a firm handshake and a warm hello. My mother taught me to write thank-you notes. I am grateful to my parents for giving me these simple guides to life and think of them with gratitude every time I follow their advice. In my current role, this happens every day.” — Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis

“The best attribute my parents gave me was loyalty and kindness, and the importance of treating all people equally. But the ultimate gift my parents gave me was an education.” — Paul Bouressa, M.D., PeaceHealth Pediatrics

“As each year passes, the things for which I am grateful get smaller and, to the naked eye, less obvious or significant. I am grateful for my garden. It grows so much more than peas and dahlias. It increases the time I spend with my husband. I’ve learned a new gentleness in him and the talk of bills and busy schedules never comes into our conversation when our hands are in the soil. My garden gives me a chance to be generous. I love sharing the bounty of its yield. I have gotten to know my neighbors through sharing my garden — although, I do notice they tend to be gone when I bring zucchini! Mostly, I am grateful for the lesson in patience I get from my garden. I learn every day that the best things in life don’t come overnight. They take time and cooperation to emerge in their best form. I’ve learned patience in that not all plants are the same. They require different sun, watering schedules, and grow times. Just like people. Respecting their differences make the garden more interesting and more beautiful. I am most indebted to my garden because it gives me the time to reflect on all the big things in life for which I am grateful; clean water, a great job, my kids and parents, girl’s weekends, my health and the taste of a tomato directly from the vine.” — Liz Kelly, host of The Morning Mix, 94.5 Mix FM

“The greatest gift I received about gratitude, I learned from my parents and aunts and uncles. They walked the talk of being thankful; by saying thank you, by writing to say thank you, and by giving back to say thank you. Thus, I am thankful for the colleagues, coaches, families and friends, and the incredibly generous people in this community who enrich my life daily. As my mom used to say, ‘An attitude of gratitude determines altitude.’ ” — Bev Smith, executive director, Kidsports

“I always tell people that I was raised by the greatest parents on the planet, and because my mom and dad always said, ‘Nobody likes a liar,’ that’s an honest statement! Through their unconditional love and support, they encouraged me to dream big and laugh often, especially at the little things. They taught me to respect myself and others; be willing to forgive, even when it’s hard; and never forget the importance of family. I can only hope that I’ve instilled those values in my own children. Because, at the end of the day, it’s the people in your life who matter most.” — Kelli Warner, public relations manager, Turell Group

“My father passed down to me the gift of singing joyfully in community. My mother gave me the gift of listening closely as a way of building trusting relationships.” — Rabbi Ruhi Sophia Motzkin Rubenstein, Temple Beth Israel — Center for Jewish Life

“I am thankful for my parents in many ways. But I am especially thankful for my Dad’s sobriety. He is a recovering alcoholic and has been sober since I was a 1-year-old. Having my dad in my life (and sober), is a gift that impacts me every day.” — Matt Bradley, executive director, Whole Earth Nature School

This article appeared in the December 25, 2017 issue of the Register-Guard. 


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