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People Places Perspectives

The Gift of Being Present

Written by: Joyce Stratton, Teaching Parent Coordinator, Charlottesville Office

One of the greatest gifts my late mother ever gave to me was the gift of being present. My mother was at the school parties and assemblies. She attended all teacher conferences, even though I made good grades. The teachers knew my mother’s name because she wanted to really know how I was doing in school and if I needed additional support. She attended church programs and cheered me on when I participated. I remember having a  panic attack at age 12,  when I had to read a poem for a program. She told me that I could do it and I had agreed to do it so I had to follow through. She also told that she would be there for me as I did it. With a racing heart, shaking voice and trembling hands, I said the poem and proceeded to walk outside the church. She came out and gave me a hug and told me she was proud of me. That was all that mattered to me. She listened, she advised and she gave me wings to fly when it was time to leave the nest. She still provided support and encouragement even after I left home.

The greatest gift you can offer a child is being present. Listen to their stories. Listen to the sobs and wipe their tears. Give hugs and offer support and encouragement. Help them understand difficult issues such as foster care and adoption. Be there for them when they are having a good time or when they are raging and being disruptive. The gift of you with all your skills, talents and abilities is the greatest gift you can give to anyone. Have you shared some of you and your gifts with someone today?