I gave a Swiss Army Knife to a former student who has become a co-leader of mine this year. I decided to make it more than just a gift. This is something I kind of stumbled on that I will for sure make a point to do in the future.

The way I see it (now), a gift can easily be cast aside and become meaningless when a person gets bored with it. I’d rather a gift be something that has meaning attached to it. Hector (the person I gave the knife to) will always remember and value this gift because of the way I gave it to him.

Without being super deep or cheesy, before he opened it, I said, “This is something every man should be given by a significant adult.”

Hector doesn’t have a dad, so calling myself a “significant adult” was like saying “you can count on me”. By saying “every man”, I was saying “you’ve arrived”. By wanting to be the person who gave it to him, I was saying, “you matter to me”.

I won’t do this every time with every gift to every student. However, I will for sure try to be more intentional about how I give gifts to students. If I can accomplish this, gifts will become life-long valuable memories, rather than trinket for a day, then forgotten. When he’s having a hard day, he’ll turn to what he values/what values him. It’s a way to keep our students engaged so we can point them to Christ throughout their lives.

Also published on Medium.