Compliment Presents

Compliment Presents.  Ever heard of them?  I never did until this year when I was faced with creating my own guidance lesson for my class, but it turned out to be the cutest little activity that they loved to do right before Christmas.  Not only was it adorable, it had such a great internal lesson that accompanied it.

Each of the students had to make this foldable little gift out of paper and write inside the gift a compliment to each of the students in the class.  It couldn’t be a physical compliment about someone’s appearance.  Instead it had to be a positive meaningful compliment about their inner value.

Many people have a beautiful physical appearance.  Eye candy, some might say.  But just because the outside of the person is beautiful, doesn’t mean the inside is nice.  Just like some of the Christmas gifts that we are going to receive this holiday season.  The outside of a gift can really cover up what actually lies on the inside.  How many times have we admired how gorgeous a gift is wrapped, but when we open it, it isn’t as wonderful as it looked on the outside?

This was what was so great about this lesson for my students.  They all have experienced a time that the gift looked so great only to find underwear, or socks in the gift.  This is what my grade five students felt was a horrible gift, even though they are necessities, they aren’t what ten year olds want to receive under that shiny wrapping paper and adorning bow.  They actually could make a connection from the present to people that they have come in contact with in their decade of life.

As our years start adding up, we witness more and more of these beautiful people or gifts wrapped in shiny bows that aren’t so shiny on the inside.  But you know what I’m noticing as I age?  I’ve come to the conclusion that there are no “bad” people, nor bad gifts.  There are people who make bad choices, whether it is to gossip about you, cheat you out of something,  treat you poorly, get angry at you, or whatever it is that these people do to do you wrong.

We all have been there ourselves.  Admit it.  I know in the past, I’ve made some really bad choices.  Selfish choices.  Choices out of anger.  I’ve let greed rule my choices before.  Jealousy has made choices for me that I cringe at now.  I’ve even let my pride cloud my choices.  I’m not proud of any of these choices, but I’ve been guilty of doing it.  Do I think that makes me a bad person?  To some people, absolutely, but I hope that people realize that we can change.

As I am teaching this lesson to my students, this is what I’m trying to get across.  We all make bad choices, but that doesn’t make us a bad gift.  You have to look for the good in people as I’m requesting my students to do about every student in my class.  We can all come up with one positive meaningful compliment to give everyone.  Even a person who has made some bad choices, or what one might consider a “bad gift”.  Even a person who we don’t think we like.

Our bad choices have to be looked at as growing experiences.  We have to learn from them and try hard not to repeat the bad choice again.  If we do, then that is an entirely different story.  Everything we experience is either a blessing or a lesson.

These people who you might consider a “bad gift” are really people that you can learn from.  Proverbs 27:17 explains, “People learn from one another, just as iron sharpens iron.”  Iron has sharpened me throughout my years, as I am sure it has sharpened many more than just me.  The “bad gift” isn’t so bad when we learn from it and find the good in it.

Just like people in our lives that might make us think they are “bad people”.  They aren’t bad people.  We just have to use what they are doing to teach us what not to do.  How not to act.  They are actually an incredible gift to us.  They are making our life easier by teaching us from their actions.  That is a true gift!  A great lesson!