What gift am I not giving …?

This beautiful question is so life giving and so connecting. Imagine what’s possible if we continually evaluate what gift we are not giving another, which in giving, would transform our relationship. We provide a couple of thoughts and hone in on what we believe might be the most neglected and needed gift.

It is sad that it has taken this pandemic for so many things to happen. For us to slow down enough to let the pollution drop, for  us to connect with distant loved ones, for us to unite as communities and help the less fortunate in such extensive ways as we have been lately . These are all things we should be doing anyways. In fact, just the other day I did the first video call in years, where every member of my immediate family joined from wherever we are in the world to have a family gathering! 

It is sad, but not a bad thing. At least we have seen some positives emerging through all of the disruption and chaos. 

In these times, I'd like to encourage you to think of the people in your life that should be receiving something from you, but perhaps are not.

Specifically for this gift we are talking of, it should not be money. Although this is a default response and always great, it can really get in the way of something deeper and more meaningful.
What are some things, or actions, we can think of to give to a specific person? Im sure a few ideas would come to mind. There are a few that came to ours, although its important to remember that the gift needs to be personal and appropriate for each person. 

It might be the gift of...

. Forgiveness – for past or present circumstances 
. Acknowledgement – of the individual or their efforts.
. Clarity  – on something you know has been left unclear or requires a closure of any sort. 
. Space/silence – when too much has been said, or nothing should be said.
. Apology – for an old or recent act. 
. Encouragement – where we can see somebody doubting themselves, or searching for some hope and belief. 
.Generous interpretation –  which creates a better, more positive space and assumes the best of another instead of the worst. 

And then there is this other gift that is perhaps the most neglected ...

The gift of TIME

For time to be a gift, it must be within that persons agenda, not within yours.

Time is a gift that is so underrated. For time to actually be a gift, one thing must be in place: it must be for the benefit of, and in the desired way of, the person you’re giving it to. For an example, a manager may say, “yes, I often  give the gift of time to my staff. We have meetings every week.”  But that is the time that you want to spend,  and in your agenda, for your reasons. The time must be free of giving to the other person for it to be spent in a way that they need. When you give through time, it gives the message of, “you’re important”. 

Here's an example of the meaningfulness you could find in giving time:

I’ve always described my son as a person who wants to be friends with the whole world. Once we were walking along the pier in Durban and we came across some men doing sand sculptures for money. My son was overly impressed with their work and immediately asked “his friends” if he could also make some sand art. they welcomed him in, showing eagerness to give him time and were so delighted to see his interest in their work. It also opened the door for a meaningful conversation, which left both myself and them walking away with a completely different perspective of each other. The one man even said to me, “thank you for taking the time to talk to me. You shared your story and it made me realise that you and I are actually not so different after all.” 

In Simon Sinek’s book, Leaders Eat Last,  he talks of how a strong inner circle of trust is important. He says the primary way to build this is through the gift of time. 

Here’s the thing with time - it’s non-redeemable. So, when a leader buys their staff lunch, that’s great. But when a leader sits down and has lunch with their staff - now that’s meaningful.

Remember if the time the other person needs is simply lying on the couch and watching a movie together, then by all means do so. But do not confuse the gift of time as being the same thing as time being together or in another’s space. For it to be a gift, it is intentional, meaningful and connected and for that persons gain specifically, in a way they desire the time to be spent. 
Sometimes the gift of time is simply sitting with another in their time of need .And sometimes it is the presence of being with someone in the solving of the problem , but never solving the problem itself for them. 
No matter who we are, our gender, age, sex, race etc. we all only have 24 hours a day. And when we give of time , we never get it back again. That is what makes it so powerful. 


Perhaps the gift you need to give to others at the moment is one of the other gifts we mentioned, or one we didn’t mention at all. And that’s good, they are all just as important and just as meaningful when taken into personal consideration for the person involved. Whichever it is, never underestimate the power of these kinds of gifts and the compound gain of meaningfulness that will be made when we continue to give in these beautiful ways. 

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