A Christmas Present I Gave and Wished Someone Had Given Me at an Early Age: My Inscription to Her

You are a dear young lady [my son’s daughter], full of youth. I hope I live long enough to see you make your mark on the world.

I was, and still am, a teacher. What do teachers do? They give youthful learners new habits. Good habits. Habits for living longer, happier lives.
Habits suited to an increasingly complex world.

This gift is meant to help you meet some of life’s complexities, the habit of storing in a flexible, alphabetical format all of the business
data of everyday life that you may amass
. Frankly, I wish someone had done this for me.

(I was told the notebook had to be pink. Her favorite color.)

I wrote another page saying something like: There is the gift follow-up. You might tell me if this gift was useful, if you are using it, etc.
It’s always good practice that, when you are given a gift, you make a practice of commenting, sometime later, to the giver that you appreciate the gift, and then say something practical about
your having used it in some way. That will mark you, in that person’s mind, as a truly thoughtful person. Go through life with that habit and people will have another way of thinking well of you.

(It was a 3-ring notebook binder with a set of alphabetical dividers and interleaved with lined, 3-hole-punched writing paper in each of the 26 sections,
and a large amount of extra sheets in the back.)

I was pleased to give such a gift.

(Under “G” I wrote “Gift from John, Xmas, 2009. This notebook.”

She appreciated it. I also gave the same gift to two other grown women in the family. They also thought it was needed.

Remember what Ralph Waldo Emerson said about “Gifts”:

But our tokens of compliment and love are for the most part barbarous. Rings and other jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself. Thou must bleed for me. Therefore the poet brings his poem; the shepherd, his lamb; the farmer, corn; the miner, a gem; the sailor, coral and shells; the painter, his picture; the girl, a handkerchief of her own sewing. This is right and pleasing, for it restores society in so far to its primary basis, when a man`s biography is conveyed in his gift….

Published in: on February 13, 2010 at 6:03 pm  Comments (1)  

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