He Pays Attention to What People Like.
Many years ago, I had one yellow paper clip. In the midst of all the common silver clips, the yellow one was special.
Having been a secretary during my pre-mom years, I know that colored paper clips cost more than regular paper clips. But I liked their relatively thick texture, and how they made my paper bundles seem just a bit brighter. Even though I didn’t want to waste the money to buy them, I loved colored paper clips. So I used the yellow one as often as I could – and only if I was sure I’d get it back.
Even as a very young child, Shane noticed this.
One day, as I was going through his preschool papers with him, he said, “I have something else.” He dug around in his pocket. “My teacher said I could give this to you.”
Shane pulled out a colored paper clip. “Thank you!” I beamed, because I now had two colored paper clips.
A few years went by, and I collected a few more colored paper clips. Sometimes they would be related to my work. Sometimes Shane would bring one home for me.
Then, last year, Shane bought me a whole set of colored paper clips for Christmas. I couldn’t have been any happier if he’d bought me a car.
So today I was putting together some paperwork for an upcoming vacation, and I noticed that I had a colored paper clip on all eight sections of the travel itinerary. (The fact that I have eight sections tells a different story entirely.)
And while I didn’t say anything to Shane about it, I sure did think about him – his chubby little preschool hands reaching into his pocket for the paper clip he’d specifically requested as a gift for me. I thought about him wandering around alone in Target at age 10, and seeing those brightly colored clips on a shelf – thrilling to find that they were within his budgetary reach.
Mostly I thought about how he pays attention to what people like and, when deciding on a gift, considers what they might really want.
And while I’d love to take credit for instilling in him this wonderful quality, I have to admit: he was just born that way.
So now I can learn from him – again.