Children are like African violets. (A type of small very ticklish house plant which housewives of my mother’s generation raised.) They are very sensitive in terms of their response to the environment in which they are planted. Children were known to die in orphanages when they were physically taken care of but not emotionally taken care of. Yet some people give more attention to the African violets in their life than to their children.
As each African violet is individual in its needs for light and air and moisture so is each child individual in his or her needs for attention, love, and support. When this is neglected, the plant or child withers and dies inside if not outside like the plant. The payoff of proper care can be great in either case.
Perhaps one can afford to lose many African violets in this process but not even one child. Children can be resilient but still, can be greatly damaged and become of little use to themselves and furthermore to the society that child dwells in.
Moisture, light, and soil and the addition of fertiliser is needed for a violet to grow; but what is needed for a child to grow in the right direction? Love, support, attention, and unconditional love appear to be necessary for this to happen.
Caregivers can not neglect one child while caring for another, This has been shown to happen when a child has a seriously ill sibling. This child needs attention and care too especially if this child gets neglected while the ill child gets urgently needed care.
The sibling does not need to be seriously physically ill to take attention and care away from another sibling. Some children are more attractive to one or both of the parents than other children. How important is it for a parent to have an athlete or gymnast or beauty queen or a scholar over a wallflower, a geek, or any child who is not particularly gifted or attractive
Worse yet are parents who really shouldn’t have any children (P.S. I am not opting for abortion, but I am a champion of adoption in these cases). Sadly what welfare does sometimes does not necessarily encourage parents to be actively involved in bringing children up right.
Wealth is not necessarily the main factor in bringing children up right. The things that are needed to do this often can’t be bought. They often cost more time than money. First is unconditional love which occurs when a person often gives another person love no matter what he or she does or says.
Children need support, not just physical support, but emotional support. A child can do well at something, but this accomplishment might be ignored and/ or at least not supported emotionally by the family or guardian. The child can say to themselves, “Oh, what’s the use?” if the effort that he or she puts into something is unnoticed and they receive little or no help with it on top of that!
Prize winning entries at the county fair can go unnoticed and wining or losing a coveted position on a team or in a play can also be ignored. “You did what?, when said, demonstrates that at least part of a child’s life has gone unnoticed. Worse yet, a child can be hurt or sick and this goes unnoticed until the child is in serious jeopardy.
Psychological needs that go unmet can cause great harm to some children. Children that survive such circumstances can be very resilient but those who don’t are a drain on society and can be lost. Too often the people who make these decisions are incompetent as well. The judge in my family says that custody decisions in his court are given to the least competent to decide.
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Just recently I gave somebody something and I wanted to tell somebody else who knew him or her what I had done. But I stopped and told myself that that wasn’t the point of the gift and it would instead have ruined what I had been trying to do.
We all in the past might have been a secret Santa to someone at holiday time and the best part of it was when the person didn’t know who had been doing such nice things and we had the secret thrill of seeing the other person’s pleasure and confusion when they found that something had been done for them or a small gift showed up at their door or on their pillow.
Often giving is more satisfying than getting. I know a lovely lady who when she gives a talk to children may give them each some unexpected treat like a candy bar or a dollar. The pleasure that she gets from this is reflected in the expression on her face and the timbre of her voice. She often does not have a lot to give, but she gives away what she has and doesn’t expect anything in return.
When someone gives something and does not expect something in return, this is true giving. There can be the delight in surprising someone with an unexpected present of something that the giver instinctively knows should be given to the other person at the opportune moment.
Gifts that are given with expectations of what the person who is receiving the gift must do in return is not a gift. Real “Gifts” come with no expectations and the giver will not be happier if the gift is accepted with great appreciation than if it is not appreciated and thrown away.
On the other hand, when receiving a gift, remember that if a gift (even if it is unwanted) is given in a spirit of joy and goodwill, often it should be happily accepted in the spirit that it was given. Most of us know that if a small child gives us a gift (even a pebble or a flower), we should appreciate it for what it often is an expression of love or affection and rather than keep it for themselves, they give it to you.