The Strange Value of A Gift Not Given

My parents used to tell me when I was a kid, that sometimes the best gift of all was for them to say "no" to me. And of course I, as a kid, understood this completely. (Dripping sarcasm alert). Any follower of Dave Ramsey knows that giving a gift to a child may be fine, but encouraging a child to earn something themselves is a greater gift yet.

Dwarf Caiman, Baltimore, MD Grufnik via Compfight

This all came back for me when I heard a quote from my niece's new husband:

"My dad wouldn't let me have a PlayStation. Now I kill things with my bare hands."

We don't say, "no" enough nowadays. It's the mystical word that children never hear, but which parents need to re-learn. It has tremendous value.

In Ben's case, it sent him outdoors to play.

And Ben, being Ben, didn't stop there. Don't be confused by the quote above, he's one of the kindest, gentlest, warmest-hearted men you'd ever care to meet. He's a firefighter and EMT and spends his career caring for the lives and property of the residents of his county, underpaid though he is.

And in his spare time, on his off days, he traps and puts down nuisance alligators.

Yep, he's a real-life gator hunter. He traps them, sells them to parks and other attractions whenever he can, but puts down the dangerous ones when he must.

Ben & Rene

I strongly suspect he would have found a way to be in business regardless, it's in his bones. But do you think he would have the same drive had he spent his formative years zombified in front of a TV screen playing video games? Slaying creatures on-screen?

He found a gift for helping others. He found a gift for entrepreneurship. He found a gift for working with animals. All through a gift denied.

Your turn: What gifts could you say "no" to that might increase your success, or the success of others, down the road? Leave a comment and tell us about it!