Today my gift is calling my mom. Living in her two bedroom condo in New Jersey, she is adjusting to a “new normal.” Since Dad died more than two years ago after 64 years of marriage, she makes do. She has a full schedule of elder hostel courses at her retirement community “home” and dines with friends each night. Still she misses our Dad to this day. Fortunately, as a widow in her 90s, she is reaping the benefits of a lifetime of making “deposits in people’s emotional bank account.”
The emotional back account is Stephen Covey’s explanation of why people may treat you the way they do by. Every time you interact with another person, you either make deposits (by being kind, listening, supporting) or you make withdrawals (by dismissing, criticizing, disrespecting). Over time your bank account with each person has a surplus or a deficit. If you have a surplus with a person, she may go the extra mile for you. If you have a deficit, he just may be too busy to help. With many people Mom has made a lifetime of making deposits in their emotional bank account. Now at 92 she is reaping the rewards of such a life by people caring and supporting her.
One such deposit occurred many years ago after Mom’s older brother Harry died in WWII weeks before the war ended in 1945. My cousin Suzanne (Harry’s daughter) told me that Mom made sure to include Suzanne and her mom Ilene in family gatherings; she would not let Suzanne and Ilene drift away from the family. To this day Suzanne is eternally grateful. So today I call and make a small deposit for a woman who has made a lifetime of making deposits with me.