This holiday season let’s remember that not all gifts are wrapped in shiny paper and decorated with ribbon and bows. There are many intangible gifts we can share with those who deserve special recognition…..for who they are, what they do, and the importance they play in our lives.
Here’s a 20-item emotional gift guide which I hope will be meaningful for you in this season of celebration:
- To yourself….respect, confidence and faith.
- To a friend….a heartfelt and caring spirit.
- To a family member….dedication, communication and understanding.
- To our natural world….protection and preservation.
- To a good cause….generosity and ardent advocacy.
- To a traveler….an open door of hospitality.
- To our military and first responders….honor and appreciation.
- To a customer or client….excellent service.
- To the ill and hurting….concern and healing comfort.
- To the hungry and homeless….compassion and emergency services.
- To the abused, neglected and abandoned….hope and security.
- To someone with a special challenge….recognition and acceptance.
- To the addicted and troubled….a positive path to recovery.
- To an infant and toddler….attachment, attention and safety.
- To a child and teen….patience, guidance and a good example.
- To a parent in need….a helping hand.
- To an elder, reverence….gratitude and dignified care.
- To everyone you see, friends and strangers alike….smiles and positive energy.
- To people of every age….unconditional love.
- To all the peoples of the world….justice and peace.
December is a month of celebrations….Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa….so I’m pleased to share this favorite story with you…..
A young girl attended a holiday violin recital. She was so captivated by the beauty of the music and powerful presence of the violinist, she absolutely had to meet him after the performance. She waited patiently in line to greet him, and when it was her turn, she said hello and asked if he would please autograph her program. “I’m sorry,” said the violinist, “but my hands are too tired from playing.”
“Well,” said the girl, “my hands are tired, too, from all the clapping.” The violinist beamed and with a flourish, autographed the program.
I sing the praises of professionals and community volunteers, parents and grandparents. They are the violinists for children, families and our elders every day throughout our vibrant and diverse communities. Those caring for their own families or the loved ones of others master the notes, touch the strings, and move the bow creating beautiful music. And sometimes we get tired.
I am your admirer, honoring your commitment and applauding your efforts. Together, in partnership, we are making progress. Let’s never forget that we are needed; let’s not lose hope nor allow one day’s fatigue to dampen our spirit.
The challenges are great, but our optimism and strength of commitment will persevere!
I trust you agree that our national, state, and community leaders need the influence of powerful advocates in order to successfully achieve our goals for access to health care, protection from harm, quality education, economic security, and public safety. Our voices matter…..and silence is certainly not golden in the public policy debate.
My special wishes for the holidays go to our military and their families, our first responder law enforcement, EMT and fire-fighting professionals, health care-givers, educators and providers of other vital human services whose dedication seldom takes a holiday. They are there for us and stand ready to serve in good times and bad. Saying thank you to these people is one way of giving them the emotional boost they need to keep up their good work for us all.
In building the 4Generations Institute initiatives to promote inter-generational communication, inspire improved public policies and help secure volunteer commitments, I’m awed by the power of relationships. Just as in families, the health of a community is in the depth and breadth of relationships among those who share common interests and strive for a better quality of life for all.
I’m honored to be in touch with you and thrilled to send my messages your way.
On behalf of our family, heartfelt greetings for a healthy and happy holiday season and a peaceful and productive 2010.
Jack Levine, Founder