Happy Tuesday #Jontourage,
Welcome back to the “Classy Gent Chronicles”, where staying classy is the only way to be. In this week’s edition, find out what made my mom cry eight times…
So okay, maybe that last sentence was a tad bit misleading. I surprised my parents with a “Parent Appreciation Night.” But for it to all make sense, let me provide some context. So a few weeks ago, I was expecting some extra money for work I had done.
Being the planner that I am, I made a list a while back of people I wanted to do nice things for should I ever get some additional money. My parents are at the top of that list so it was a no brainer that they were first up to be appreciated.
So instantly, I started thinking about what I could do for them.
I told them that I would take them out to dinner but I wanted to do a little bit more than just dinner. One day I’m on Facebook and boom… I see this jar.
Someone had reposted a jar of encouragement where the jar has a bunch of nice uplifting quotes and messages. At that moment, I knew I wanted to do that for my parents. However, I wanted to put a special twist on it. I did not want it to be random notes, I wanted the notes to be from people they knew. I reached out to family and friends who I knew wouldn’t mind writing nice encouraging notes about my parents. When it was all said and done, I received over 40 notes for my parents from people about the impact my parents have had on their lives.
After getting the notes, I went to Target and bought the supplies.
To pull this off, I bought two glass jars, pastel paper, two gift bags, gift tags, and two glue sticks. Total cost was about $40. Surprisingly, I did not let the allure of Target trap me into buying other stuff like many people end up doing when they go to Target lol. Now back to the story…
So the day of, I go to my uncle and aunts house to prepare the jars so that my parents would not get suspicious. Total prep time was about two hours. First I had to put all the notes on a Microsoft Word document and format them to all be the same size and font. Then I printed them out. I cut out the individual notes and pasted them on different color pieces of pastel paper.
Then my uncle and aunt helped me fold up the notes and add them in the jars.
Now for the fun part… presenting them to my parents. So we go to Outback Steakhouse which is a family favorite. Then surprise, my uncle, aunt and cousins are also there to help celebrate my parents.
My parents were pleasantly surprised but more importantly, they were confused which was great for what was to come next. They couldn’t figure out why because of the fact it wasn’t there birthday or anniversary. So I pull out the jars and boom, here come the tears.
My mom actually thought they were sugar packets because she said they look like the Splenda, Equal, and Sweet & Low sugar packets. I’m like “mom who gifts someone with sugar packets?” But nonetheless, she opens the first note and starts crying. She realizes they are notes from her loved ones.
My parents and overwhelmed with joy and I felt a great sense of pride in knowing I was able to successfully pull this off. Then it gets better, I hand them two cards, giving them $50 each. To add to that, my uncle and aunt gift them with gift cards (AMC for my dad and Bath & Body Works for my mom).
My mom just cried and cried because she was so grateful. Her response was so beautiful, “thank you for giving me my flowers while I’m still alive.”
Moral of the story: We need to remember tomorrow is not promised to any of us. As people, we must stop waiting for holidays, weddings, death, and birthdays to show emotion. I hope that the norm becomes doing nice things just because and not letting the greeting card industry dictate when to show kindness.
Jonathan C. Harris is no stranger to leadership, hard work, or success. At the age of ten years old, he earned the right to be a guest weatherman for a day on Fox 5 DC News. He has already received over 100 honors and awards including Forty Under 40 for Prince George’s County, MD, TEDx Talk speaker, American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Outstanding Men’s Program, high school Valedictorian and the Kiwanis Club Citizenship Award. Raised in Fort Washington, Maryland, he has served in leadership positions his entire life, from being the manager of the school store in elementary school to the president of the Homelessness Awareness Club in middle school to the president of the National Honor Society in high school.