We all know how to create so much excitement about holidays that we come to think of them as the most special days of the year. Parents feel tremendous pressure to produce the perfect gift, and kids, for the most part, feel a need to get the latest toys, technology and fashion. What gifts for teenagers could offer some balance? After 25 years of raising three young adults we learned how our own annual traditions influence our children’s values, and shape their lifelong identities.
We have a limited number of years, while our children are still under our roofs, to give them “gifts” that will be a support to them in the life. So as 21st century parents, where do we find those gifts? This holiday season think “Outside the Box” and give gifts for life.
Who has had the most positive influence on your life? How did that person influence you? Now that you’re a “grown up,” you can probably look back and think about the relationships that shaped you the most. Many children, teens especially, need a mentor in their life to help them navigate decisions.
What can your child gain from a mentoring relationship? They will grow intellectually, interpersonally, and emotionally from supportive mentors. With the right match, they will be motivated and gain social and mental development. They will be better planners, organizers, and problem-solvers and will grow in self-confidence and self-awareness. Mentors play varied roles —friend, advisor, coach, tutor and conscience. At the most basic level, it will guarantee that there is someone who cares about them, outside of their family.
Have you ever wished you were trained to respond in an emergent situation? As your young adult prepares to leave home for college, give them a skill that will last a lifetime. Send your teen to an exciting, fast paced, hands-on 70-80 hour Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course, which is the ideal training for students readying to leave the safety and comfort of home for college. This field course is designed to give students the tools to make critical decisions. Group lectures, role plays, skill building and demonstrations are combined with realistic scenarios where mock patients help acquire skills through experience. Learning takes place both in the classroom and in outdoor settings.
Sometimes the pressures of work, school, and life occasionally grow to such a level that nobody in the family seems to be enjoying their daily life anymore. We’ve all been there. Radical, but effective – take a mental health day. It doesn’t have to be far, the woods, a beach, museum, or a show. And, no need to feel guilt, after all your going to be spending it with the people who matter most in your life, your family. Before you and your children burn out, save your sanity. Put down the cell phone, celebrate the small things that happen in every day life like a beautiful sunset, or a star filled sky, a flock of birds migrating south for the winter. You’ll be nourishing your children and yourself. You’ll feel better, look stronger, and be more productive and focused when you return. Guaranteed.
Still not convinced your children will be happy with your “out of the box” gifts? Then try these:
If you’re going to give something in a box, (or a cloth bag, since they don’t do boxes), try something from our favorite company that provides goods while also doing good:
And if you don’t find something there, choose from any one of the many Certified B Corporations (like RLT and Patagonia) popping up all over the world that are purpose driven, and meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency for the benefit of all stakeholders, not just shareholders. As a certified B Corp’s we create higher quality jobs and improve the quality of life in our own community and in the communities where we travel. An increasingly powerful agent of change. B-Corps are helping pass laws and drive capital. Through our programs, practices and business we inspire to do no harm and benefit all.
In the end, if you can’t find the right gift, you can always leave the decision to your child and give…
Want your kids to think you are an absolute genius on the cutting edge of 21st century technology? Look at Coin ($100), an easy way to slim down our every day life and carry something a little more manageable. This connected device (shaped and sized like a credit card) lets you scan all the cards anyone would typically carry and leave them at home. It works just like a regular card, letting you swipe it the same way you normally would, and lets you easily swap which card they are using, (gift cards credit, debit, etc.) at any given moment.
Still not convinced?
Stick to tradition. Tradition is the anchor that helps us feel secure and stable. Believe it or not, our Christmas morning coffee cake, and walk in the woods has become as important as any package under the tree. So, if you want to contribute to a perfect day, make sure you create and hold on to some tradition.