For my sixteen-month old, ‘future’ means nothing more than daycare the next morning; and all the security he needs is that of mamma’s arms during sleeptime. But, things are bound to change in the wink of an eye; needs will be added every day, and before we know it, he will be all grown-up and raring to go. And we have to gear up right away to keep pace with him. In order to do that, I have thought of five gifts to give him this Christmas, which are more long-lasting than plastic trucks (though I love seeing him play with those too) and the value of which would unfold gradually over the years, securing his future.
Emotional Security: I would like to gift my child happy memories of a warm home for a lifetime of emotional security. I would like to instil in him the perception that his family is the root that travels deep underground, growing stronger with every passing day, as he discovers himself and spreads his branches to the sky. I hope to gift him the idea that the family is a team which has always got each other’s back, it is a union where people vastly different from each other come together to enjoy each other’s differences, grow together without growing apart, absorb dreams from each other and make them their own, work towards fixing things when they are broken, and celebrate just being together. So that, all his life, whenever nothing would seem to go right, he would be secured to know that his family is one constant force that would never fail him, that would be delighted to have him. Every time he hears the word ‘home’, he should be able to picture a smiling family that he would crave to keep coming back to. And to make the idea of ‘home’ permanent as well as to instill in him the pride of ownership, a convenient, affordable home loan might be a great idea for a gift for ourselves as of now and for the future security of our child.
Financial Security: I would love to give him the security that he is not only allowed to take up any course of study he wishes to, but that we actually have the means to support him in the same. His task would be only to discover who he is, what he wants to pursue. Good old software engineering? Culinary courses in France? Photography courses at the Amazon Forests? Some subject we never heard of at a place we can’t pronounce the name of? Whatever his dream turns out to be, we would like to secure and seal it right away; so that once he has identified the path he wants to walk down, if we have to extend our hand, it would only be to pat his back and say “Good choice, son. Carry right on; we are ready.” To achieve this end, the best thing to do would be to invest in a Policy that would secure his future, including his education, even if we happen to be not around to take care of him.
Security of a Beautiful, Safe Planet: We do not inherit the planet from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children – a primitive adage that holds true especially in the current face of constant, irreversible environmental damage. I wish to gift my son a world of fresh air, pure water and glowing sunlight; a world that would never cease to wonder him with its beauty. And it’s never too early to start gift-wrapping this dream world with layers of environmental awareness, love for nature and a determination to protect it. The best way to do it is to lead by example – after all, Jo dekhega, wohi sikhega. Planting trees, turning the ignition off at signals and traffic jams, turning off the tap while brushing the teeth, taking printouts only when absolutely necessary, reusing and recycling at every opportunity, switching off electrical fittings when not in use, banning plastic, no littering – these are all best practices that I hope to gently shower on my child, not force down in the name of moral science, but weave into his lifestyle. Most importantly, I would like to see to it that he doesn’t grow up to be the kind of person who sits back and frets “What can one man do?” to shun his responsibilities towards Nature. What better time to preach the power of one man than Christmas? After all, one man delivers gifts to all the children in the world in one night!
Security of an Active, Disciplined Life: I would like to gift my child a football – symbolic of a childhood that is not spent glued to the TV and the computer. Though each has its share of educational values, they can’t in any way diminish the importance of getting down and dirty in the field. Sports teaches vital lessons of life – playing by the rule, equality of all, discipline, sportsman spirit, the euphoria of a win, the determination to avenge a loss, apart from building a strong mind, character and body, each of which would be an invaluable treasure throughout his life. And it does all that in such an amazing package of fun and adrenaline that his childhood would be one happy, exciting and healthy story.
Security of Good Health: You are what you eat, and what you eat early in life will stay with you all your life. I wish to gift my child the beginning of good eating habits, starting with the Christmas dinner! And here too, hope to lead by example. I wish to bring him up in a home where nutritious, home-made food is eaten. I wish to teach him how to enjoy delicacies in moderation without growing addicted to them, to indulgeonce in a while but nor binge; and explain to him the banes of junk food. Laying the foundation of healthy eating habits would ensure that he enjoys nutritious food all his life instead of forcing himself to swallow them. This again, would help secure him against obesity, cholesterol, diabetes and high pressure problems, which are all targeting young and old alike around the world.
Only when I have carefully wrapped each gift with love and tied them with a ribbon of concern, I would consider it a Christmas well spent!