We have entered the season of giving. Stress levels can be very high while thinking about all that we would like to give our child, perhaps dealing with long Christmas wish lists, demands, the realities of our budgets, busy schedules, and the rushing around to keep up!
Pressures and expectations abound that the season should be joyous and ‘special’ for our family. This can leave us in gut-wrenching contortions, searching for that perfect gift, panicked inside the feeling that we will come up short. Even when we do keep ahead, we are sometimes puzzled that our child seems unhappy, disappointed, or perhaps is searching under the tree for something ‘more’.
I can’t give more… says the frustrated parent. What more can I give?
I bring this question to a much deeper place, and one which crosses cultures, continents and time itself: What does a child need the most at the very core of their being? What have children always needed to keep them securely grounded and anchored, able to grow in the understanding that we can’t possibly have everything we want, and nurtured in the deeper sense of the most important things in our lives being that which can’t be bought?
And of course the answer is: us. Do we provide our child with us, in full confidence that we are their answer?
The concept of ‘provision’ is foundational to Neufeld’s paradigm, and it outlines an absolutely vital component of the parent-child relationship: a child will tend to feel more settled, more at rest inside themselves and fuller when the parent moves in ways that seek to provide richly for contact and closeness, well before the child has to experience emptiness of it and a need to fill the void with something else.
In this way, the parent provides for the child’s deepest needs by taking the lead to cultivate relationship, giving richly those places where time slows down to the enduring gifts of what is inside the very space between parent and child.
Do your eyes light up when your child walks through the door or enters the room, putting inevitable issues or places of tension aside? Do you provide the very energies of delight, enjoyment and warmth in how you walk each day with your child? These ways of being will flow answers deeply into places of profound need more than any toy, clothing or ‘perfect present’ ever could.
How on earth do I fit this in? asks the parent, perhaps now wondering how to squeeze an extra ½ hour into the day for ‘quality time’ amidst the rush of an already hectic season.
It isn’t about adding, it’s about being.
When I think back on Christmas’ past, it always strikes me how it’s never the presents themselves that come to mind, but the enjoyments, the warmth and the delights of traditions, rituals and simple time spent simply with those that I love… to a child, this becomes the greatest gift of the giving season.