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Giving The Greatest Gift

by Richard on April 24, 2014

GreatestGift 300x210 Giving The Greatest Gift

Giving The Greatest Gift

There is likely not a person who doesn’t like, if not love, to receive a gift. A gift says a lot about the giver. How a gift is received reveals a lot about the recipient. Often it is less about the actual gift but more about the heart behind the gift that is important.

My kids got excited about Easter – admittedly it was more for the Easter eggs than it was for the meaning of Easter. Their faces lit up when they found an egg on the egg hunt or when an chocolate egg magically appeared Easter morning. Let’s face it. Kids love getting gifts. In fact, we’re all like kids. We love getting gifts too. A gift is exciting to the person receiving it and can be equally or moreso for the giver.

I was reading recently a book on parenting where the question arose, “What’s the greatest gift a parent could give a child?”. On a survey most people said love. The author argued that it was acceptance. If a child doesn’t feel accepted by their parents the author said that it would be almost impossible for the child to feel loved by them. To me acceptance is too neutral a word. I prefer the term, valued. I would add that the same applies to any adult too. Everyone wants to feel valued.

What’s the greatest gift you’ve been given?

Whatever it is, I am guessing that it was more about the person who was giving it than it was about the actual gift. The giver outweighs the gift.

People matter.

There are many children and adults today who, sadly, haven’t been given a gift in a long time or ever. As a result they do not feel valued. Their parents tear them down rather than build them up. Their boss sees them as a tool not a person. Society looks down on them because they are down-and-out.

I recall one day when I was in Edinburgh. I had just bought myself a soup and sandwich to go. Just down the street was a beggar. I walked by him hardening my heart because I was hungry. I averted his eyes. I got about 10 paces when my heart was convicted. I was not loving my neighbor. I was not leading by example. I felt compelled to give him my lunch. A wrestled with my selfishness for about 5 seconds and then turned around. I knelt down, looked in his eyes and touched his shoulder. I gave him my sandwich and prayed a blessing on him. He could not give me anything back other than a smile of gratitude. For that moment, at least, he felt valued because someone showed they cared, they valued him. I felt great too!

Give time and give yourself.

One particular way people feel loved and valued is by the time you give them. Giving your time is giving yourself. It is a selfless act. My kids want me more than they want a tangible gift. Ever seen a child grow bored with a gift yet want to play ball with their dad for hours? I’m sure we all have. Putting others first and giving them our time shows the other person – young and old – they matter. Give and you shall receive. You will be valued and loved too. Giving strengthens relationships.

People need the gift of your presence not your presents.

It’s all an act.

Whether it’s love, acceptance or being valued, what’s truly important is the act of giving. Giving comes from the heart…or at least it should. There is no gift if there is no giver. The giver must have it in their heart to give. Giving yields the gift. A gift is a blessing. A father desires to give his child a gift. A leader desires to give praise to his or her team. A coach gives their expertise, support and encouragement to his athlete. A soldier gives his life for his comrades and his country. God gave His Son.

Giving comes with risk.

There are times when a gift is offered and it is refused or not really wanted. Whilst this can be rare, it means when giving a gift you are taking a risk. You are revealing yourself, your heart. You are risking rejection of the gift and/or you.

I recall the night I proposed to Nancy. It took a lot of planning. I had called Nancy’s dad who was overseas in Hong Kong to ask if I could marry her. I was nervous that he might say no. I had bought 15 seconds of air-time on a national TV channel. My proposal was pre-recorded and was to air at a specific time. I had the ring hidden as we watched TV. The risk of her saying no could have been nationally humiliating. Her yes meant she accepted and that she loved me.

Who can you serve?

Giving is a great tonic and does us good. When you give selflessly you grow happier and more fulfilled. I’ve had a spate of challenges recently that have threatened to tear me down. But I learned a few years ago that when that happens, the best thing I can do is to give. I shift my focus from me to others. I ask myself, “Who can I serve?” It could be time, a kind word, an errand, a gift etc. Whatever it is, the act of serving the needs of others is a gift to them and a gift to me.

The world will be a much better place when more of us focus more on what we can give each day than what we can get. Sure we may become successful through getting, but our significance, and that of those we serve, grows through giving.

Your Powerplay

Give sooner. Give more.


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Packing for Success 200x300 Dont Miss The Journey Because Of Your Destination

Don’t Miss The Journey Because Of Your Destination

Most of us on a journey want to get to where we’re going as fast as possible. We tend to focus on the destination because we believe that’s where the gold is – at the end of the rainbow. But the real treasure is often in the journey itself.

For most of us, whenever we get into a car, on a train or a plane all we really want to do is get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. No hassles. We don’t handle detours and delays well. We have a busy life and a busy schedule. Time is money. There is work to be done, people to see and even fun to be had. But we definitely don’t want to wait for it. Yet, as I’ve learned, there is wonder in the waiting.

Are we there yet?

There is not a parent alive who has not been asked this by their kids whenever on a journey of some sort. My kids used to ask this question a lot. It’s a question that quickly wears thin. It’s a question that gets under our skin. Yet why does the question come up? Our kids learn it from us. We are always in a rush. We say things like, “I just want to get there.” So…our kids follow our example. They just want to get there and they don’t always have a great concept of time or distance. So they keep asking. They also don’t understand patience unless we model it.

My kids have reminded me of how my dad used to handle my brother and me. As when I was a kid, our journeys are filled with quizzes (name 5 types of fish etc.), people watching and seeking out highlights along the way. Keep the kids occupied and focused on the journey and the destination will take care of itself.

The journey itself can be load of fun – be that at work, rest or play. When I was a kid we journeyed across Canada. We started in Toronto and drove to Calgary to pick up the motorhome before heading to Vancouver. Each day we had a general idea of where we were heading. We didn’t know how far we would get on any given day. The scenery was wonderful. The Prairies. The Rockies. The distance was long. As a result Dad had us doing quizzes along the way (no in-car entertainment systems back then). We’d stop for bears. We’d stop to swim in a freezing cold glacial river (I was not very keen). We’d bathe in sulphur springs. We’d camp amongst giant redwoods. There were lots of great attractions and distractions. Our journey was so scenic you couldn’t help but wonder. To me it was an adventure in which I was enthralled. Had I been focused on our destination I would have missed it.

We love destinations. God loves the journey.

Interestingly, the same happens at work. We want to get the results ASAP. We don’t wait well. We don’t like problems or challenges that impede our progress or change our direction. Even when we get to where we are going we don’t always value what we’ve achieved, how we got there or the lessons we’ve learned. In the days of Exodus, the new nation of Israel journeyed for 40 years in the wilderness complaining. They wanted to get to the Promised Land as easily and quickly at possible. The longest route is often a shortcut. Had they marveled from day 1 in all that God was showing them and doing for them, I’m pretty sure their journey would have been far shorter.

The value was, is and always will be in your journey.

I’ve always been very task-focused. As a result, I’ve often missed the journey and sense of accomplishment. I’ve swum Lake Ontario. I attained my childhood dream of getting my veterinary degree. I’ve written 2 books so far. I’ve won coaching awards. And you know what?….I don’t recall celebrating any of them. I never stopped to smell the roses. I got to where I wanted to go and it was all anti-climactic. I just ticked the box and looked for what was next. I never truly appreciated my journey of success. I was like one of those whistle-stop coach tours that barely stop at a point of interest before hustling you back on board to move on.

I used to be very impatient. I was always too busy and in a hurry. I hated waiting. I hated delays. I hated detours. For me, God kept putting me in those situations until I learned to slow down and appreciated where I was at. Now I relax when there are delays and jams. I slow down because I know that if I don’t I may miss something important – a lesson, a vista, a person.

A few lessons I’ve learned that I can share in the hope they help you too are:

1. Slow down. Speed kills.

2. Learn to be a passenger even when you are driving.

3. Stop focusing on what’s in your future.  Your success lies in the lessons of the present.

4. Journeys are more fun when they are shared.

5. Savor the milestones.

It’s said that success is a journey not a destination. It’s true. No matter the destination, make sure you look out window. Learn to enjoy the journey and where it takes you, what it shows you and what it teaches you.

Your Powerplay

Get a renewed perspective. Be it at work, rest or play, sit in the “passenger seat” and notice what you may have missed before.


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Work Doesn’t Pay: Confessions Of A Workaholic

April 17, 2014

Work Doesn’t Pay: Confessions Of A Workaholic To a workaholic, work is an addiction. Like most addictions, work can be unhealthy. Work comes before everything and everyone else. Being a workaholic is a slow road to an early grave. In the days of the pioneers, sons worked alongside their fathers every day. The fathers taught […]

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