Consider the differences among these three pictures.
-Team X pays a gazillion dollars to acquires the rights to Super Star player.
-Team Q signs a player just out of high school and sends him to their training camp.
-Saturday morning, Fred, Joe and Harry are coaching little league baseball at the park.
What is the difference among the three?
Team X invests big bucks, expecting a big return on investment as soon as the super star joins the team, because more people will buy tickets to see him play.
Team Q is investing a much more modest amount, but they do see the value in the player that can potentially be developed. He is young and green and inexperienced, but has talent, and if they are patient, investing salary and some good coaching for a few years, they hope he will give back to the organization eventually.
The Saturday morning crew, is volunteering their time, investing in kids who will never give anything back to them.
They simply see the treasure in the kids, whether it is sports talent, or the ability to be a better adult through learning discipline, teamwork, sportsmanship and passion for winning. It will probably never come back to them financially or any other tangible way.
Unpacking kiddos for the good of the kiddos (and tangentially, of the world).
How cool is that?!
Now let’s bring that forward to the gifts men give to their wives at Christmas or other times.
There are the gifts that have utilitarian value. It might be the latest kitchen gadget so she can make him a better dinner, or a gift certificate to her favorite store, so she can look stunning when they go out together.
Not a bad gift, but somewhat self-serving at the end of the day. A bit like Team X.
Or there are the gifts with a long term (potential) payoff. Suppose you invest in your wife’s higher education. It is a more expensive gift because it is going to cost you a lot of time without her, as well as the financial expenses associated with school. There can still be a hidden financial benefit to you if she goes back to work after getting the degree and shares her income.
But the finest gifts are the ones that are designed to unpack the treasures in a man’s wife, just because she has treasures, not because there will ever be any benefit to him.
“Fred” scored this Christmas. Years and years ago, when they were a young couple, he heard about “Sally’s” enjoyment of the planets and stars. It is something that was placed in her by God.
But they were busy with kids and education and careers and the stuff of life and it just got brushed away. No time or money for those niceties in the early rough and tumble years. But being the highly sensitive, thoughtful person that he is, he remembered that all of these years.
And this Christmas Sally got a great big telescope from her beloved Fred.
Now do the math. NO BENEFIT TO FRED. It isn’t going to help him directly in any imaginable way. Or indirectly.
And it rather directly cost a lot of money. And it will most assuredly rather directly cost him a lot of time with her because she is going to be out searching for dark places where she can explore the heavens — at the expense of spending evenings at home with him.
THAT is a Noble Subject: someone who after all these years of marriage is still attune to the unfinished business of discovering the treasures in his wife and creating the opportunity for her to unpack them.
He is a lot like the little league coaches — helping others become more fully themselves, at his own expense.
That’s what husbands do.
You rock, “Fred.”
Copyright December 2017 by Arthur Burk