My daughter is currently in a state of expectancy and excitement. She says she can’t wait for May to come. We all know why – because it’s her birthday. At 5 years old turning 6, she’s someone who knows what she wants. She wants a birthday party, she knows who she wants to invite, and what she wants for presents – hamsters from mum and dad. Every few days, she’ll ask us if it’s the month of May already. We’re currently cracking our heads on what to do for her birthday party but the goal is that it should be fun for her and inexpensive for us.
Like many Singaporean parents, my husband and I also want to give the best to our children. When my children were born, I thought about what I could pass down to them as a “family heirloom.” Maybe my wedding dress, I thought; but then again it could be out of fashion by my daughter’s time.
I currently have three things that I want to pass down to my daughter. The first is a little lamb soft toy. This was given to me by my husband when we were dating. The Latin form of my name means ‘lamb’ and the Greek meaning is ‘pure’. I put the toy in her cot when she was a baby, and a few years ago, gave it to her and explained that she is like my little lamb. The second is a music box that my parents gave to me when I was in my late teens. It’s a wooden music box they bought when they were in Switzerland. I kept my favorite trinkets in there. I hope that it is something she can use in the future that will also remind her of her grandparents. The third thing I plan to give to my daughter and son is a collection of my blog. Ever since they were born, I have been keeping a blog to chronicle the different stages of their growing up, successes they have, falls they make and hopefully learn from, conversations we have. They may not remember the early years of their life when they grow up and so I hope my blog will give them something to remember.
But more than material gifts, how many of us actually think about and consciously pass down gifts that last a lifetime? Have we considered the values, beliefs and faith we want to pass down to our children?
When I was growing up, my parents where strict disciplinarians – especially dad. We were constantly in conflict, particularly the rough teenage years; where like my daughter; I too knew what I wanted and wanted it my way. Little did I know that,
- When I got reprimanded for being last minute or late, dad was teaching me the value of time and punctuality;
- When I got a 10pm curfew put in place because I came home very late one night without telling my parents my whereabouts, they were teaching me about consequences and responsibility;
- When I had to learn how to cook and spend Saturdays doing household chores, they were teaching me how to take care of my family.
We need to intentionally remind ourselves and be purposeful in passing down and giving our children “treasures” that will not decay, be destroyed or be stolen. But rather, “treasures” that will last a lifetime and for generations to come, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.