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Receiving Gifts Graciously


P1020892Mark opens the present and says with disappointment, “Oh, I already have that.” Mary sees the new DVD she’s received and says, “I hate that movie” or John has a reaction of apathy when given a __________ (fill in the blank).

3 thoughts on “Receiving Gifts Graciously

  • December 24, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    I would have rebelled at being told to tell “little white lies” like “I love it” or “So cool” if I didn’t believe them. I think it is a better idea to teach the child to sincerely thank the person–that the gift means they remembered you and wanted to give you something; and that you can thank them for that even if you don’t like the gift. Talking frankly about the social conventions surrounding gift-giving and thanking people for gift-giving is more useful to a literal-minded child than simply being instructed to claim the gift is wonderful when in reality you don’t like it at all.

    If you are going to tell a child to lie, then you have to explain why, how, and when; you have to explain why it’s okay to lie now and not some other time. That’s complicated and it’s unnecessary. Better idea? Teach them that “thank you” means “thank you for thinking of me.” Then there’s no real reason to teach them to pretend the gift is nice.

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    • December 26, 2010 at 12:23 pm

      Your comment articulates what I meant when I said, “The gift is in the giving, not the content.” I think you developed that idea well and I agree entirely. Both you and the comment by Robert addressed your discomfort with the concept of ‘white lies.’ I understand this, and as a general rule, I agree. But there are times, always dependent upon the needs of an individual when teaching about ‘white lies’ may be appropriate. Whenever I have talked about this with kids it’s ALWAYS in the form of “who, what, when, where, how and why.” But, blogs simply don’t allow every aspect of an idea to be developed.

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  • December 24, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    I agree with most of this post. Like, it’s important to be polite, and to avoid hurting others (within reason). However…
    “…for others, it’s to teach them how to show enthusiasm…”
    Assuming that we have any enthusiasm to show. But what if we don’t? Then we must pretend that we do? Ah, but that is the kind of phoniness that causes many of us to hold the vast majority of NTs in contempt as we get older! It is, arguably, that which we despise most about them. And you think that we should want to emulate it? Unless one is also intellectually retarded IN ADDITION TO being on the autism spectrum, one should have NO INTEREST WHATSOEVER in yielding to such idiotic pressure! And if anyone does yield to such pressure, and if they do so with a winning smile of the sort that someone like you has trained them to wear on command, just remember who will be indebted to whom — because they won’t forget in a hurry even if they let you believe otherwise.
    Personally I think that YOU should aim to think and act like US, not the other way around. The World would be much nicer if you did. For starters, most people would keep their eyes to themselves a lot more, and they’d generally speak and move a lot more quietly (which would make it easier to THINK), and they’d refrain from hugging you without warning, and they’d refrain from hugging you while wearing irritating fabrics or overpowering perfumes or whatever, and motor vehicles would be a lot quieter (and in many cases, less smelly) than they are…. And everyone would be able to be honest and say things like “I don’t really like that jacket you bought me!” or “I hate that painting you did ’cause it’s got too much green in it!” and hardly anyone would be upset ’cause they’d just think “Well that’s fair enough, it’s only an opinion and if that person doesn’t like it I can always give it to someone else, no worries.” I mean, I’m generalising a fair bit ’cause there are always exceptions to every rule, but that’s basically what it would be like.

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