Some people are born to gift. You know who I’m talking about. They buy multiple items, all perfectly suited to your taste. They thoughtfully place them in a beautiful bag with fancy ribbon. When they hand it to you, they’re flush with excitement at the anticipation of the reveal.
I am the antithesis of a gifter.
I am clumsy at selecting a present that will be exactly what the recipient wanted. I will read disappointment and perplexity in the expression of the receiver. I will feel a little bit embarrassed and lacking when the event is over. For this reason, I do not like holidays where gifts are anticipated. Too much stress and disappointment for me.
I am also not good at receiving gifts. I attempt to act excitedly when I open a present, but, secretly I’m plotting how I will return the item at the soonest possible opportunity. This makes me feel sneaky and unappreciative. My gift attitude has been revealed of late and now my family watches me more closely.
It seems to me that there are fewer and fewer talented gifters in our world today. An indicator is the absurd number of gift cards that are exchanged. How empty, it seems to me, that I give you a $25 gift card to Home Depot and you give me a $25 gift card to Macy’s. What is the point?
And lists. This also seems rather silly to me. Your child makes out his list of wants. As parents, we dutifully go out and obtain said items. We wrap them and give them to the child. Everyone is happy. Again, this seems a bit empty to me. I do the same with grocery shopping – just more frequently.
I don’t have an answer to this dilemma of mine. A gift-truce would never be accepted in my family. Alas, I will continue on this path until such time as a realistic solution presents itself.
I deserve it, he deserves it, she deserves it. It’s become a growing catch phrase in our culture. I didn’t realize it until I was watching advertisements and it dawned on me that many of the commercials played to our entitlement mentality. Advertisers don’t just pull phrases out of the air. There is nearly always a reason for the words they chose. There’s too little space or time to waste a single word. Once the word ‘deserve’ made it to my consciousness, I began seeing and hearing it used all over the place.
Do we all deserve everything? I remember my boys being in preschool. Each day a child (or more accurately the child’s parents) would be assigned to bring the snacks for the class. Sometimes the snacks weren’t well received by the students. The staff had a saying they effectively used in such circumstances, ‘You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.’ They would make the entire class say it. And it worked, the children seldom complained and had the choice between not eating anything or eating the food placed in front of them. No teacher was running around looking for something that little Johnny would eat. Johnny just went hungry.
I think we’ve become too concerned about feelings and expectations. Perhaps a little toughening up is in order. Trying to accommodate everyone leads us down a road where self-centeredness prevails. There is evidence of this with the popular phrase, ‘Sorry, not sorry.’ From the moment I heard that phrase I thought it was snarky and unbecoming of the person using it.
I think we were better as a society when we had manners and were generally polite to each other. We were also at our best when we learned when to just be graceful when we didn’t like something minor, such as the food placed in front of us. Or, when we learned how to try and change our own circumstances when there was something major we were unhappy with. Placing the expectations into the hands of others to help ourselves leaves us helpless and perhaps hopeless at some point.
I just saw a billboard the other day that said, ‘Every pet deserves a vet.’ I thought it should say ‘Don’t get a pet if you can’t afford a vet.’ We place ourselves in positions and then expect others to get us out of the situation. It’s almost as if we’re regressing to children rather than progressing to maturity.
The definition of ‘deserve’ is to “do something or have or show qualities worthy of.” If most of us actually got what we deserved, we would most likely be getting much less than we have now.
Thoughts that are alien to any of my other projects can be found here.