Gift of the caregiver

Last month we had Mother’s Day and we’ve just celebrated Father’s day a couple of days ago.

And while there are plenty of views around the commercialisation of it, social pages such as Facebook and Instagram suggest that it is widely celebrated, not only in South Africa, but across the world.

So expensive gifts and traditional moms or dads aside, these days do offer a reminder to thank – let’s call it caregivers instead – in our lives. To thank them for guidance, love and support.
Eleanor Rosalynn Carter (aged 91) served as First Lady of the United States from 1977 to 1981, as the wife of President Jimmy Carter. One of her most famous quotes are “There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.”

Being in a caregiving-roles could mean you need to provide physical support, logistical support, emotional support or all of the above. So, at some point in your journey, you will either serve someone or be served by someone . That is an interesting reality we are faced with.

So why is it important to be aware of this? Because to some degree, the type of caregiving or support we’ve received, could be the type of caregiving we’ll offer to someone else. And at the stage where we might need caregiving again, it could also determine what we would be OK with and what not. In many ways, this also pulls through to values, self-worth and self-love.
This week, take some time and look at the caregivers in your life. What support are you receiving and how is that is shaping your thoughts and feelings? And what are you doing to thank those who contribute to you? What lessons are they teaching you for when the roles are reversed – because ultimately it will be reversed somewhere down the line.

Then also consider your actions where you are in the caregiving-role – what are you saying through words and actions to promote self-love, dignity and respect to those in your care? And do you have the right boundaries in place so you honour your time, energy and space to the same degree?

The opportunity here lies in the power you have as caregiver, as that will shape those that need to care for you and others one day. Let it be a safe sanctuary, that shows transparency through authenticity, delivered with responsibility.

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