An email I received:
“Yesterday I was in another city looking at a potential college for my daughter, Alicia. In the morning we went to a mall, and she found a super-cute ring at a jewelry store—only $60—and I bought it for her. On our way home we stopped at a restaurant, then continued our drive up the highway.
"All of a sudden she starts acting all weird, anxious. When I asked what was going on, she answered, ‘I think I left my ring at the restaurant.’
"So I turn the car around at the next exit, start heading back, and she is looking for the phone number of the restaurant, and calling her mom. She is really stressing out at this point, and I started to get mad. I’m thinking, Why in the world would you take off your ring? But in seconds I decide that loving my daughter is more important than anything else. In very little time, I’m completely calm.
“Alicia goes in and cannot find the ring (surprise!). So we head out for home again, and first she says ‘Why do people have to take stuff?’ and I say ‘You're asking the wrong question dear.’
"She actually started pounding her legs in frustration, and calmly I say ‘Alicia, it’s OK. It’s just a thing. Not worth getting angry over things. They won’t make you happy.’ Then I then pull out my phone and show her pictures of her mother, and me, and her brother. I say, ‘Here are reasons to be happy.’ Then she cries for the next 20-30 minutes.
“A little later (long drive!) I ask her to drive the car, which shows that I'm still a little suicidal. Eventually she says, ‘Thank you for being so calm, and thank you for driving back there when I was crazy.’
"We talk about happiness and possessions. She said ‘I'm sorry for wasting your money.’ I answer ‘You didn't waste my money. It was a real gift, and that’s never a waste.’ She said, ‘But I lost the ring.’ I said, ‘Maybe, but if you want it, you could choose to replace it.’ She said, ‘With my money, right?’ I agreed. Still later in the drive she calls a store close to our home, finds the ring in her size, and has them set it aside for her. I kinda like how this turned out, you know?”
It’s in the “little things” that we demonstrate who we are. This man would have blown up in the past if his daughter had done this. There would have been yelling on both sides, followed by a long mutual sulk and avoidance. And their relationship would have been dealt another terrible blow.
But that didn’t happen. He remembered to love her, and everything flowed smoothly.