I love this season of giving. Over the next few days, I will be exchanging presents with loved ones and spending precious time with those who mean the world to me. I hope each of you is able to do the same.
With gift giving in mind, I have some ideas for giving gifts to children that can last a lifetime.
First, give the gift of reading. I urge every parent, grandparent, teacher, tutor or mentor to take at least 30 minutes each day to let a child read to you or let them listen as you read to them. Reading will open up so many more windows in a child’s life.
Second, give the gift of nutrition. More than 60 percent of our state’s students qualify for free and reduced meals, meaning that most of the food they eat comes from breakfast or lunch they are served at school. Holiday breaks leave many children hungry. But thanks to numerous community partners, many children are given backpacks full of food to last over these long breaks from school. Your donations help keep their tummies full.
Give the gift of movement. Many of our children don’t get enough physical activity. Take some time over the winter break to get outside, play some tag football, take a long walk, go ice-skating. Not only will you be helping to cut down on childhood obesity, you will be helping those brains to be more active as well.
Finally, give the gift of time. There is no better present than your presence. Take time away from your cell phone, your job, your computer and your television set, and talk to a child. Listen to what they have to say. Color a picture with them, play a game, gaze at the beautiful Christmas lights, bake something together, enjoy the moments of wonder that come this time of year.
Most of all, I’m wishing each of you a Merry Christmas and a very blessed New Year.