Dec 25, 2012

What Is the Lesson from "the Gift of the Magi?"

Before I buy a Christmas present for my wife, I ask her what she wants for her Christmas present. Just before Christmas day, all the good things were already sold out, so I went with her to the store, where the thing that she wanted is sold, and I bought it for her. Although my present isn't surprising at all, I'm deeply satisfied with the fact that she is satisfied with getting the thing that she wants.

It isn't romantic, is it? I don't care if it is or not. I'm just a philistine.

I read O. Henry's "the Gift of the Magi" again. At the end of this story, O. Henry wrote as follows.

Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest.Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

O. Henry said that this couple was wise because they love each other enough to give presents each other, even if their presents were not completely useful. But I'm wondering if it is true.

I imagine that I would bring this story as a case into a class in a business school. Students might point out that the cause of this problem is lack of communication between this couple.

I always tell my people that they should never surprise me. When they know something will happen, they must tell me about it that as soon as possible. Close communication brings mutual trust.

Why should a present be surprising? A surprising present is quite risky, isn't it? Aren't you happy, if you get an unsurprising present which you want to get?

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