The Art of Receiving

Our Guest Blogger today is Rick Martin. Rick is the principal of the Cornerstone Christian School in Harrisonburg, VA. He is also a presenter for the National Center for Biblical Parenting.

Every quarterback needs a receiver to advance the ball and every parent needs a receiving child to advance the heart. Kids are receiving all the time but some are not receiving so well. Whether they are receiving a gift, hug, instruction, or correction, children need to receive with honor which is a learned skill that must be modeled and taught. 

The Art of Receiving Gifts
When my daughter was 5 years old, she had her heart set on a particular Barbie Doll that she wanted for her birthday.  After she received the long anticipated gift from her grandma, she unwrapped the package only to discover that the Barbie grandma gave was not the Barbie she wanted.  As a result, the gift was rejected and an awkward moment of ungratefulness ensued. Needless to say, my daughter didn't know how to receive a gift but because of this experience and some intentional coaching, she learned a lesson that transformed her into one of the best gift receivers in our family.
Children need to know that giving a gift is an act of love designed to bless the receiver. Regardless of what’s inside the package, the love from the giver must be celebrated. Children need to practice the art of receiving by saying thank-you for the love that the gift represents instead of citing the gift alone. It's never acceptable to disregard a gift, because disregarding a gift is to reject the love expressed by the giver. By the way, God has given us so much.  How are we doing with celebrating His love?

The Art of Receiving a Greeting
Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, I have the privilege of welcoming students to school.  Some call it “morning duty” but I like to view it as an opportunity to enhance the environment. As they come through the door, I shake each student’s hand, smile, and thank them for coming to school. After initiating thousands of handshakes over the past 15 years, I have encountered a wide range of ability to receive a greeting. Just as my grandpa had to train me, I have discovered the need to train children how to squeeze the hand, look at the person who is saying hello, and reply to the person who is speaking with a greeting of their own. It’s a common courtesy that many children lack today.
Too often we allow children to hide behind their shyness or excuse rude behavior because they're young. Teach children to greet respectfully and you'll be advancing their heart toward relational success.

The Art of Receiving Instructions
Receiving instructions may be one of the most important skills we can teach our children. If children don't learn how to receive and follow instructions, they may struggle with keeping a job, lack friends who trust them, or totally miss God’s plan for their lives.

Too often children are allowed to argue, complain, disobey, or respond with a bad attitude.  Requiring a simple yes or equivalent affirmation eliminates the unnecessary noise of arguing and complaining. When a child simply says “yes Mom” when given an instruction, parents discover the answer to three important questions. 

  1. Did the child hear the instruction?
  2. Does the child intend to obey?
  3. Does the child have the right attitude?
To learn more about giving good instructions, consider attending a Cooperation, Consequences and Keeping Your Sanity Seminar in your area. You may also want to consider hosting a seminar by contacting the National Center for Biblical Parenting.

Milan Tomic

Hi. I’m Designer of Blog Magic. I’m CEO/Founder of ThemeXpose. I’m Creative Art Director, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Interaction Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Developer, Business Enthusiast, StartUp Enthusiast, Speaker, Writer and Photographer. Inspired to make things looks better.

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  1. I have had the privilege of standing in the entryway at the Cornerstone Christian School with Rick Martin. At the time, there were no children present, but I can just imagine him greeting his students on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I'm sure that by this time in the school year, most of the students have learned how to receive his handshake well. This story is a strong illustration for the importance of learning to receive. May we all learn more effectively how to receive grace and strength from the Lord!

  2. Great post. Single parents would be wise to adopt some of these ideas in their families. It is easy as single parents to put aside some of the finer arts of instructing their children in receiving. Plus it is a little difficult to teach your child to thank the former spouse for the gifts they give. Been there and it was soooo hard but it is a must if we are to pass on the gift of the Son. It all starts at home - even the single parent home.

    Linda Ranson Jacobs
    DC4K Creator and Ambassador for
    Single Parent Advisor for

  3. Love this - especially 'Receiving a greeting'!!!! Thanks for posting it.

    Walking past someone on the street or in a store and just going on by as if no one was there is not the way we are to treat others according to 1 Peter 5:14 (NLT), 'Greet each other in Christian love'.
    My Dad would never walk past a person without saying ‘Hello’ or ‘How are you?’; he thought this was just plain good manners! We as parents need to set that example for our children.

  4. Would love to hear practically how you coached your daughter into becoming a grateful gift receiver. I've had this same thing happen in my house recently and I'm trying to teach my 6 year old how to be thankful and receive gifts, but I think I'm missing something...I would love to hear any suggestions/anecdotes on how you helped her to understand this concept!

  5. I normally teach parents to train during what I call "Peace Time" (no conflict) instead of trying to teach a lesson during "Show Time" (in the middle of conflict). However, when my daughter rejected the gift during "Show Time", I decided to stop and train. While it was uncomfortable and grandma was a bit embarrassed, I stepped my daughter through how to accept a gift and how accepting a gift is accepting love and how rejecting gifts is rejecting love. Then for months afterward, when a gift was anticipated, we would practice how to receive a gift. On the way to the party we would practice saying thank you and reinforce the the idea of how receiving a gift is like receiving the love from the person and rejecting a gift is like rejecting the love. I would share how we don't celebrate the gift but rather the love from the giver. These are the themes that we kept going over and over until bang, it got through. Sometimes, half the battle is knowing what values we have as a family and then becoming stubborn enough to keep after it until the value transfers.