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This video called My Uncle’s Gift was created by a guy who remembers playing with his uncle’s 1967 Bolex camera Years later, he inherited that camera and started to make home movies. He has since gone on to become a filmaker and the camera has traveled the world with him — “from the lush hills of Mexico to the desert regions of Egypt, Jordan and Israel.” He plans on passing that camera along to his own son. As Mike S. says, “My Uncle Roger didn’t just give me a camera. He gave me a legacy.”
As I watch the video, the part that strikes me is “you never know what you have to give.” At any moment in time, you can give something of yourself to the person you are with. You can give your knowledge, your insights, your love. You can laugh with them, and give the gift of joy. You can give physical gifts, of course, like the camera, but often a gift can be just as powerful if it is the gift of words or touch or experiences together.
My own uncle gave me the gift of listening. He had become deaf in one ear at an early age, and that meant he had to work extra hard at listening. Because of this, he was always asking the questions that would make things clearer. He taught us to speak clearly, think clearly, slow down, make sure to be heard. When he was talking to you, it felt like there was no one else in the room. As if everything you were saying was the most important thing in the world to him. I really believe it was. He knew how to listen clearly.
I’ve passed on the skill of listening clearly to so many people. My kids, of course, but people I work with, people who do speaking engagement, people on the interent. In any given interaction, I try to give people the gift of my attention.