Writer / Chris Palmore
Long ago, I was taught an important lesson. It was a hard lesson, and fortunately my dad was ready for this to happen. I’m not saying he was expecting it, but he had the insight and soundness of mind to show me the way.
It was, I believe, my tenth birthday. My parents threw me a little party. I was sitting at the head of the table, opposite the windows facing our backyard. My dad had set up the camcorder that he had borrowed from the school where he taught. They happily sang happy birthday to me.
Once the singing ended, I blew out the candles. A little later, I opened my presents, mostly clothes and things I was not impressed by or even happy to get. I was frowning the whole time, the lack of happiness plastered all over my face.
People who loved me had spent time and money celebrating me, all to make me feel special and loved, but this was totally lost on me at this young age in my life. I was a selfish child who just wanted toys. My dad was video recording my birthday celebration. I don’t remember this moment at all. I remember what happened after this moment, later in the day.
My dad told me to go into our television room and sit down. He then played the video of me during the party. I could see how I was acting. I could see my ingratitude. I could see the ugliness it radiated. My dad explained to me how mean I was being. He explained it and showed it to me. This created a memory I will never forget. Modern technology allows a person, in this case a parent and a child, to revisit an event with the slightest of ease.
Seeing yourself behave awfully is a powerful lesson. It’s hard to watch and it takes a special person, a person who cares, to show it to you. My dad showed me a lot of love, tough love. I deserved to be punished, but, instead, he cared enough to show me the ugliness so that I could see the truth of the situation and make a choice not to be that person ever again.
The sooner we can understand and see all the gifts around us, the better. To be receiving so much and not taking notice of it is a disease. It will rot you from within and steal your joy. This disease silences happiness. It breaks up families and friendships. All people want is to feel appreciated and loved. Giving appreciation freely will result in it being freely given back to you. It’s reciprocal, and it works. Spin the wheel, and it will come back around to you.
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