Our Kids Don’t Care About Presents, They Care About Effort

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“I got my daughter pretty good presents this year and we had a little get together at home with some friends and family for her birthday.

At the end of the day she came up to me and hugged me. I knew we were going to talk about the sweet gifts I got her because I honestly nailed it. She cuddled into me, kissed me and said, ‘Thank you for putting in so much effort.’ And it made me think.

She didn’t care about the presents.

She did love them but that‘s not why she was thanking me. This year we didn’t hide behind a few gifts and call it a day. The boys and I spent weeks planning, a day shopping and a weekend setting up and pulling down.

We blew up balloons and we got excited for mommy’s party all weekend. We did our best to make it about her. It was a pretty crap outcome in terms of event planning but that didn’t matter. She still felt special.

The thing about fairytales is that they’re all nonsense. Relationships aren’t built on grand gestures. And love isn’t an event.

It’s a long road full of ups and downs and the steed in your chariot isn’t gonna cut it forever. You don’t get to just slay the dragon once and live happily ever after.

Things gets boring once you’re back from your big adventure. No bridges, no castles, no dragons and no celebrations. Just hard work.

She grew up thinking she wanted Prince Charming. But let me tell you after a few years all she wants is someone to hold her as high as his top priority.

To heck with the money. To heck with the presents. She literally just wants effort.

Happy birthday, sweetie.”


This story was written by Brad Kearns of DaDMum. Subscribe to our free email newsletter, Living Better—your ultimate guide for actionable insights, evidence backed advice, and captivating personal stories, propelling you forward to living a more fulfilling life.

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