Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be.”

She was rich in years. Her husband had passed away some years ago, but she still had her three middle-aged sons. All of which had become very financially successful over time. With her birthday right around the corner, the brothers each wanted to present to her a gift. And being a very competitive trio, they each wanted to give her the best gift. So, no expense was too high!
The first brother looked at his mother’s old station wagon parked in her driveway and cringed. He immediately headed over to the nearest luxury car dealership and bought the best car in their lot.
The second brother looked at his mother’s small home and shook his head. He immediately called a realtor and bought the largest house that was listed in her area.
The third brother had a more unique idea in mind. He ran across a rare treasure: a parrot that had memorized and could recite the entire Bible. “What a brilliant gift!” he thought. “Mother is growing old and her eyesight is not what it used to be. She will be delighted to know that she can name any verse of the Bible and that the parrot will in turn recite the verse verbatim.”
And so the mother’s birthday arrived and each son gleefully presented their gifts. As any mother would, she happily accepted and thanked each son for their generosity. However, a week later, none of the sons had heard from their mother. They decided to visit her and ask whether she was enjoying their gifts.
The first son asked his mother how if she was enjoying her new car. “I’m sorry son,” she replied, “- but the car is too complicated. The different gears and settings are confusing and I have a difficult time figuring our how to even turn on the radio. I miss my old station wagon.”
The second son asked his mother if she was enjoying her new home. Once again, she replied, “I’m sorry son, but the house is just too big. I get lost on my way to the bathroom! I miss my previous home and it’s close quarters.”
However, when the third son asked his mother if she was enjoying his gift, her eyes were illuminated with joy. “Son, that was the BEST chicken I’ve ever ate!”

Not exactly the ending you were expecting, right? I heard this story years ago and I still crack up every time I hear it. The moral of this story, so to speak, is that we all perceive things differently. The story uses the example of gift-giving. However, a better example for my point would be a simple conversation with another person. You never know how the other person receives your words! We can spend too much time structuring actions and words around how we assume someone will react. Stop assuming and you’ll be surprised. People pick and choose what they want. Not what you want for them. Ask what they want or what they want to know.

It might just be a simple ‘chicken’ dinner!

– Jenni


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