Gracious Receiver

gracious-receiver

by Carol Barnier

At her birthday party, my 7-year-old daughter, Emma, was opening a gift as all the children watched. She tore off the paper and dismissively declared, "Oh, I already have one of these." Then she tossed it aside to dive into another gift.

I was horrified. We made things right with the guest, but after her friends left, I explained that gift giving is a two-way street. The giver bestows a gift to show affection. The receiver returns that affection by showing appreciation to the giver.

To practice this exchange, Emma gave me a pretend gift, and I offered a terrible response, being so over-dramatic as to be silly.

"This is hideous! How could you have given such a thing?" When the giggles subsided, I gave a correct response.

"This is neat. I love the color you chose. I can't wait to try it. Thanks."

Then it was Emma's turn. I wrote a few gift ideas and placed each in an envelope. When she tore them open, she had to read the name of the gift and respond appropriately. Some were typical gifts (a game, a sweater), and some were awful (a can of sardines, a toddler toy).

We practiced until her responses were gracious and would be pleasing to the giver.


This article originally appeared in the March/April 2010 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2010 by Carol Barnier. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.

 

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