The Shoulds

Dr. Linda Hancock


Dr. Hancock has written a regular weekly column entitled “All Psyched Up” for newspapers in two Canadian provinces for more than a dozen years. Over the years, her readers and clients have said that they have benefited from her common-sense solutions, wisdom, and sense of humour. Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice in Medicine Hat. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email


October 7 2022

All Psyched Up. | | The Shoulds | by Dr. Linda Hancock | Published October 7 2022 | Revised November 22 2022

© 2022, Dr. Linda Hancock INC.

Over the years things have changed a great deal.  I remember Christmas’ where our stockings had hard candy, an orange and some peanuts in shells.  Sometimes our one or two gifts were second-hand but they were gifts and we gave thanks.

Recently, I have been hearing many older people talk about how difficult it is to know what to give to grandchildren who seem to have everything and often forget to give thanks.  Yet the grandparents think they should continue to shop and hope that they might find something that is appreciated.

So, I thought I would share with you some of the ways that I have changed my “shoulds” to new ways that are more reasonable and achievable. 

First of all, I don’t purchase Christmas gifts for grandchildren over the age of eighteen years.  Most of them have incomes and tend to purchase what they want when they want it.  Christmas for them is often an extremely busy time that is filled with so many gifts.  Frequently, I would find out that they either had what I had wrapped for them (or a more sophisticated model),or didn’t have a need for it.

If I am spending some time with the grandchild over Christmas, I instead bake something for them.  This is always appreciated and gives both the giver and receiver some joy.

Children under the age of eighteen receive educational gifts – like books or games or science kits for Christmas.  These items don’t usually break and can provide hours of entertainment as well as imparting knowledge and stirring up curiosity.

Birthdays are a different situation.  All of my grandchildren, despite their ages, receive a gift card (usually for ice cream treats or online purchasing) but only if they have sent me their current address and thanked me for the gift card.

I believe that birthdays are a very unique and personal time and because there are usually fewer gifts given, the gift cards are welcomed. 

I remember well the thank you that I received from one of my granddaughters a few years ago that read something like this: “Dear Grandma.  Thank you for supporting my chocolate addiction!”.  Interesting as I first read it through my eyes as a therapist but then saw the humour in it!

You might think this is a rather strange article for Thanksgiving weekend but this year I thought it would be important to think about how we often are caught in the “shoulds” of life.  We should be thankful.  We should give things to our grandchildren no matter what their response.  We should serve turkey on Thanksgiving Day.  We should…. We should….we should!

This Thanksgiving why not re-think everything?  What are the things that you are truly grateful for?  What things are you doing that are not effective or wise?  How can you re-adjust your heart so that you give and receive in a spirit of grace?

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  (Not just this weekend but all year long).

All Psyched Up. | The Seventeenth Year | The Shoulds | by Dr. Linda Hancock | Published October 7 2022 | Revised November 22 2022

© 2022, Dr. Linda Hancock INC.