An Auntie from Neverland a real presentkidsparentschild2 years3 yearsFeuilletonchildrenkid4 years5 years1 yearmotivationRespect and be Respected0 yearlovepresentsurprisecandyfriendshipauntiecube of sugaranonymousvisitrelationshipreciprocationbribelollipopsbeing goodgoodiesunconditionalplayingcoffeeinterest
We were awaiting the arrival of our auntie. The kids were impatiently listening to anything audible and were alert, prepared to open the door and jump into their auntie’s arms. The door bell rang, the door opened and the auntie was assailed by cries: “Surprise!”, “Do you have the surprise?”, “We want the surprise!” Auntie gave nothing, not even a word, so the kiddies turned on their heels and ran away.
The worst scenario that I could imagine happened. But then I realized that it was the auntie’s fault in a way. The last couple of times upon arriving she gave out lollipops, raspberries and other goodies. Then she went to get coffee without playing with them. She alone taught the children, that her visit = candy and that’s the end of the story. She lowered the value of her presence to a cube of sugar. Spending time creating a relationship with the children was moved to the second place.
She coined it when, before giving out the present, she asked if the children were good. Suddenly the present became a bribe for being good. Being good no longer makes sense without a bribe. The true reason for the present – an unconditional expression of recognition, love, interest and friendship* - was alien to the children. And I’m not even mentioning that the present should be anonymous and without the need for reciprocation.
So how should we offer surprises to children? The best way is to give it after auntie plays with the children and shows them that the reason for her visit is actually them. While offering the surprise, she can truthfully say that the present is meant to delight them because she likes them the way they are.
Author: Lenka Míkovcová
Translation: Marek Hubbell