The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #10 Encouragement

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by Mark Hoog

On the first day of Christmas my true self gave to me… a dozen magnificent messages of wisdom and wonder from 12 popular speakers, authors, and visionaries. Each gift is from the heart, given with love exclusively for BellaSpark readers. Enjoy unwrapping these priceless life-affirming gifts!

In 1993 I received the gift of a lifetime as I sat with my wife, brother, sister, and parents for our holiday gift exchange. This year was unique as, in only a few months, both my brother and I would become first time fathers. I looked at the stack of gifts to be exchanged and noticed one out of place box in the pile. It was a mid-size, beat up box, with wrapping paper of all sizes and colors taped randomly to it. I recognized it as the handy work of my brother who then reached for the sloppily wrapped package, carried it in my direction and set it on my lap asking, “Mark, if there was one gift- just one gift- you could give your child, what would it be?”

I was speechless. Money? A house? A car? My mind raced. What did my brother stuff in this sad looking little box? My mind drifted to the intangibles I hoped my unborn child would possess. I wanted my son or daughter to believe the canvas of life could hold a picture of unlimited potential and the brush to create it was firmly in the hand of the painter. I wanted to make sure everything I did helped my child build a foundation of possibility. But how? The words, “Encouragement is oxygen to the soul” flashed through my mind. In that moment I realized my answer and told my brother that, through my parenting, I wanted to offer encouragement and help my child develop strong self-esteem.

The gift was never in the box…it was in the question. I realize now the perfect gift is not always held by the perfect box or wrapped in colorful paper. Sometimes the gift is that which encourages us to think about the contribution we make to the world around us.

Mark Hoog is a nationally recognized speaker, a bestselling author and the Executive Director of the Children's Leadership Institute. www.markhoog.com

November/December 2011

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by Linda M. Potter

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Walking The Way: Lessons from the Road to Santiago
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Nutrition Know-How for Holiday Health
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by Donna Mazzitelli

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Ho’oponopono: Love, Forgiveness and Inspiration
by Jan Waterman

A Dozen Christmas Roses
by Author Unknown

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #1 Laughter
by Merrie Lynn Ross

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #2 Happiness
by John Randolph Price

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #3 Inspiration
by Jack Canfield

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #4 Life
by don Miguel Ruiz

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #5 Your Heart’s Song
by Barry Goldstein

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #6 Radical Self Care
by Cynthia James

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #7 Freedom
by Linda M. Potter

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #8 Self Love
by Arielle Ford

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #9 Self
by Katrina Pfannkuch

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #10 Encouragement
by Mark Hoog

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #11 Gratitude
by Ed & Deb Shapiro

The 12 Gifts of Christmas: #12 Peace
by Donna Visocky

Heeding Our Wakeup Call: An Interview with Michael Mirdad
by Tuula Fai

Go-Green Resolutions for the New Year!

The 10 Best Apps for a Healthy, Green Lifestyle
by Katrina Pfannkuch

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