“Mother I love you for all that you’ve done, I’ll grow old and make you proud as your son”
I read off of my computer screen. My mother and I have never had that close of a relationship. My perspective on my childhood was negative. I never appreciated where I came from. The experiences that I’ve had up to this point have shaped the person that I am today; and for 20 years I grew up resenting those experiences instead of appreciating them.
This weekend something shifted.
I wanted to get my family a Christmas gift, but I wanted it to mean more than money could ever buy. Social Dynamics says that value is based on the emotion that you can make someone feel. By giving value, you’re giving someone a positive emotion. Open a big screen TV and you’re pretty happy. Everything that can be purchased with money and given as a gift, is simply a way of giving someone a positive emotion. The more expensive or thoughtful the gift, the happier someone will be.
I believe in the short term someone’s happiness spikes with an expensive gift. Once the novelty of the Christmas expense wears off, the emotional state of the individual returns to normal; only now they have an extra toy. A thoughtful gift on the other hand has the opposite effect. I believe a thoughtful gift to mean more than an expensive gift ever could; for a thoughtful gift means that you spent more than just money on the present. You spent your most valuable commodity – time and energy – because making the other person feel good means more than money ever could.
Value is based on emotion. I wanted to ensure that my family felt the best emotion they possibly could this Christmas. Instead of purchasing any gifts; I wanted to test my Social Dynamics. If value did actually equal emotion, that means that I wouldn’t have to buy a gift to have a bigger impact than any Christmas present ever could.
I would be able to leave the gift of love.
I wrote 12 verses for the poem, 1 to each of my family members in the room and the rest thanking everyone for the person I had become. Line by line as I read the poem to my family I began to feel the emotion rise from the pit of my stomach. Showing this much love in front of family should never be hard. It seems frowned upon. The only time we appreciate the people we have in life is when it’s too late; as we stand above their casket wishing we showed them more while they lived.
I finished the poem and looked up at my mom to see her eyes well up with tears. Her and I never had a good relationship; I’ve resented her for years for my childhood. I didn’t understand the importance of what she had done. She raised me to the best of her ability with the tools that she had been given. My limited perspective kept me comparing myself to other children my age, wondering why I didn’t have the things that they had.
My mother had me at 17 years old and insisted on keeping me and raising me. Who knows where I would be if she hadn’t taken me and chosen to raise me, instead of put me up for adoption; or even worse – abortion. My mother made the hardest decision of her life at age 17 to keep me and raise me, and because of it I am the person that I am today. Every experience in my life – positive or negative – has shaped the person that I am today.
“I Appreciate You..”
20 years, 1 month and 28 days after my mother brought me into this world, I thanked her for doing so. I felt the love creep up from my stomach into the room as my expression of emotion overcame each and every one of my family members. I realized something this weekend, that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Social Dynamics says give value freely, expecting nothing in return. The highest form of value that you can give is an expression of love, expecting nothing in return.
I can say with certainty now that Social Dynamics has not only changed my life, but has changed the dynamic of my family. From a family who had a hard time expressing love openly to a room full of laughter and hugs within a day, I know that my poem had an impact on my family this Christmas day. More of an impact than a big screen TV ever could.
How much appreciation have you showed for the ones that you love today?