How to Give the Best Gift EVER

A young, energetic man walked up to me the other day as I was leaving a store and tried to hand me a card and tell me about his opportunity.

Let me tell you about how to…...”  he said.

Cutting him off I replied “Not today……

Now usually, this is enough for most engagements like this.  Girl Scouts selling cookies, volunteers collecting for very worthy causes….. BUT not this guy.  He quickly replied with even more urgency:

Then how about tomorrow, or the next day, or any day next week?”

I responded with a smile and a dismissing wave:  “I’m not from here.

Satisfied I had used my amazing communication prowess to once again vanquish anyone who would try to puncture my Teflon veneer to engage me in a sales “opportunity”, I turned again toward my car, secretly feeling victory.

I was wrong.
Where do you live? My company is in 90 countries, surely we are somewhere near where you live?” he shot back with laser quickness.

Master of language.  Slayer of excuses.  This guy was good.  REALLY good.
I know that a lot of you like me have prepared a defense for door-to-door salespeople, street beggars, and even really cute cookie sales kids. You know you don’t need those cookies, but you can’t pass up the big eyes and unison robotic “Will you buy some Girl Scout cookies?”  I have gone back the car for the last dollar to buy those Thin Mints I don’t need.

But how many defenses do you use on the people you love the most?

I want to talk about how you do this to the most important people you love.  The people you take pictures with every holiday.  The people you say you would sacrifice for.  The people you even share your bed with.  I’m guessing you, like me, are pretty good at deflecting the needs of the very people who want you the most. So, whether you need to invest more in your spouse, partner, children, or parents.

Here is the blunt truth:

You don’t GIVE the most important people in your life the things they need.

You know it, deep down.  You have a list of excuses and like the above story, phrases you have prepared to get them off your back.  You have important things to do, like checking Facebook, playing balloon pop, watching San Acorn State play Popcorn U., or some other time taking option.

What does it mean to give to the people you love the most?

I already wrote about this in general sense in my blog here:

but, I want to give you some specific ways to give to the people you love the most.  Maybe some of these  you haven’t tried or thought of before.  You can’t buy them at a store, they are a mindset that you must create in yourself if you want to deeply connect to the people you love the most.

  The 3 things that REALLY matter to the people who need us the most are;  TIME, PRESENCE, and ACTION.

So let’s unpack them one at a time.

1. GIVE the gift of TIME.

We live in such a high-energy society that takes so much time to just keep up.  We never seem to have enough time, and yet this is exactly why we need to give it.  There is a direct correlation between a person’s socioeconomic status and free time.  The very wealthy and the very poor have a lot of free time, but everyone else falls into the truth – the more you make, the less time you have.

How do you find time?  Schedule it FIRST.  When I was a pastor I told my assistant the nights I had reserved for my wife and family.  When someone wanted me to come to something the assistant looked at my calendar and said, “I’m sorry, but he’s already booked that night.”  This kept me from pushing the most important people in my life, my family, to the end of my line.  I always made those soccer games, Friday night dates, and dance recitals.

When you schedule the people you love FIRST, your priorities will follow.  I have known far too many people who succeeded in their professional life, but lost the people they loved the most because they didn’t give the gift of time.

Get this one right, and the rest of your life will make a lot more sense.

2. GIVE the gift of your PRESENCE.

We have all experienced talking with someone who isn’t focused on us.  It is very frustrating.  I have never met a person who meant to do this, but we all have.  If you have a habit of being present physically but your thoughts are somewhere else, let me help you change your focus.

When we are not fully present, we are really saying that something else is more important right now, but I am “obligated” to be here.  Like a dog can sense fear, humans can sense when you are not completely available.

While we have become so “connected” with our technology, when we don’t leave work behind when we are with others, we cheat them of our best, and they know it.  Learn to find ways to give all of yourself to the people you love the most.  They will cherish it.

Start by finding times to unplug from things outside of your personal time.  Leave your phone at home on a date.  Walk away from the email at 5 o’clock.  Learn to never answer your kids questions with “uh-huh” but give them a full answer.   I have decided to NEVER answer my phone when I am talking with someone face to face (emergencies excluded).  You might find you need the time away from your work as much as your family needs you.

3. GIVE the gift of ACTION.

The quickest way to my wife’s heart is at the sink….doing dishes.  Words that say we love someone that are not backed up with solid, demonstrated action are hollow.  I must admit, while I can be pretty good at the first 2 on this list, I am still learning to serve through action.

Action is about showing someone you love them.  Go with them to an event they want to go to you don’t.  Do the chore they hate the most.  Bring them flowers for no reason.  Grab your husband by the hand and take him to the bedroom and lock the door.

Action speaks louder than words they say, so go ahead and move!  You might be surprised at the positive effect.

These 3 gifts are not things – they are deeply connected to your soul.  The wisdom I have gained in 28 years of marriage, parenting and teaching has shown me that giving my time, presence and action to the people I love the most gives them the best of me and that is what they deserve!

Now, GO love somebody!


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