April 9, 2013
It started as a joke. I was standing in Washington DC airport when my eyes settled on a Barak Obama snow globe. I couldn’t resist it so I bought it for my wife Karen and presented it to her when I arrived home. Lets just say I got a bemused reaction.
About a year later I was standing by Niagra Falls on another work trip when my eyes settled on a Niagra Falls snow globe. This one was a clear plastic heart shaped one with a picture of the falls in it with “Niagra Falls” written in a bright red old fashioned font on the picture. The snow was actually shiny red hearts. Lets just say it was tacky. When I got hime I presented it to my wife and got another slightly bemused, albeit warmer than before reaction. A few months later as I was packing a bag for a quick jaunt over the The Netherlands, Karen walked over to me and said. “I’d like another snow globe with a windmill in it…”
A couple of years on and as I write this blog from my wife’s desk at the CVM office, I have in front of me, a sea of snow globes (and a sand globe from Dubai and a red gloop globe from India) from all over the world. Its become a tradition. Any new country that I visit as part of my work with CVM and I get Karen a snow globe. When asked why I do this, I just look at them and say “its a gesture of love of course!” In fact, so passionate has Karen become about the snow globe thing that if I was to return without one, she would be a bit upset about it. This has led me to a two hour walk through Hyderabad, resulting in the red gloop one and a desperate search in Dubai ariport for a sandstorm one (complete with camel). The rules are simple; It has to be tacky and it has to at least in someway represent the country I’ve visited. The office team here have got into it a bit as well and theres always a bit of interest when I return from a trip in the whole snow globe thing.
Now, I’m not the most sentimental of blokes but theres something about this silly tradition that means something to Karen and I. What started as a joke is probably deep down, a way of dealing with the fact that we don’t actually like being apart from each other. As a man, I often don’t think about the little gestures that can mean so much to people but I think there is a call on us guys to take a step back from the testosterone stuff sometimes and as in the words of Otis Redding “try a little tenderness.” Now this doesn’t mean that I’m calling blokes all over the UK to go out and start a snow globe revolution. I am however calling on blokes to start a tenderness revolution. To take time with your wives (if you’re married) and to make the little gestures that can make so much difference. To take time with your kids (if you have them) and to demonstrate strong gentleness. And if you haven’t got a wife and/or kids to show people that you are slow to anger, rich in love and that you can be kind and gentle as well as enjoy petrol, bonfires and raw meat. Its all about being the complete man, the kind of man that deep down we know we ought to be.
As for me, I’m off to Cambodia later this year. I suspect thats going to be something of a challenge…
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