As Christmas is almost here, I want to talk about how ‘presence’ is better than ‘presents.’

I was reading an article the other day about the ‘Uncle Dad’s’ – the Dads who just want to be ‘fun Dads,’ the Dads who don’t deal with the everyday responsibilities of being a parent, the Dad’s who ship the kids off to grandma, grandpa, sister, brother or even their new girlfriends/wives when they want to stay back at work for Friday night drinks, or play golf on the weekends, or take their new girlfriend/wife on a romantic holiday on their ‘on’ time with their kids. Or, as ‘fun dad’ they do all the mountain bike riding, take them to the movies, or out for bucket loads of ice-cream, amusement parks, buying all the expensive presents and adrenalin rush activities, they feed them plenty of junk food, let them stay up late and don’t show any discipline, leaving the responsible mother left to tie up all the ends.

Kids don’t recognise it, depending on their maturity, until the high school years, maybe a little bit earlier, when their grades start to slip because their father isn’t allowing time to do homework on his time, or not listening to them when they talk about the school bully, or struggling to provide some real boundaries. And then the kids start to resent their father for not putting in the right effort, because, especially for boys, they don’t know what the right thing to do is… is Dad showing us that this is the way to be a man? Or, is Mum showing us that she really has the logic, requirements and responsibilities to be a man?

And that’s where I come to the title of this blog ‘the best gifts in life.’ The best gifts you can give your children is your time, your energy, your listening skills, your ability to adapt to THEIR situations, your nurturing nature, your sanity, your ability to teach them things around the home, your ability to stay focused on their homework and the tasks at hand, and your everlasting love. None of that can be replaced by expensive gifts, loose discipline and non-attentive parenting.

In the book “On the Road to the Best Orgasm Ever”, Sarah shows her dedication to her children throughout the book by creating opportunities for herself to get out of the rut of a life she was in. Initially, she thought, like many unhappy wives, that the key to their children’s happiness would be for a marriage to stay together. But it wasn’t the case in Sarah’s life. And it took something drastic, not a conscious decision on her part, but a decision made for her, to get out of the hole that both her children and Sarah were in and start again in a way she never thought possible, and was so much more beneficial for her children.

Sometimes, you need something drastic in your life to make you more ‘present’ in your children’s lives. This Christmas make a turn for the better, and start appreciating the beauty of your children and give them everything you can of yourself… and guess what? It doesn’t cost a cent.