What Made My Daughter Cry With Tears of Joy?

November 25, 2021

by LIOR ZOREF @lior

A few days ago I received this message from my daughter, Maya:

“Daddy, I just read the book I received as a gift. It really really moved me, and I cannot stop crying, it really is the best gift you could give me. I love you ❤️”

She sent me this message after getting a gift  for her 18th birthday (and agreed that I’d share this message). What is this gift? Full story below.

First, with your permission, a few words about changes.

Most of us hate change. Resisting change is a natural. Change evokes fear and fear paralyzes.

I was recently invited to give a keynote in France for a leading agriculture brand. “We are in the midst of big changes and experience resistance” senior leaders told me.

One of the models that helps explain the emotional process that people go through is called The Change Curve, which is based on the famous five stages of grief (Kubler-Ross, 1973).


I suggest looking at this model while thinking about the changes that COVID has introduced in our lives. It started with denial (“it’s only in China”) and shock (“Lockdown? No way”). Growth starts from the bottom in the disruption phase (“the world has changed”), attempts to find creative solutions (we hate zoom, yet short zoom meetings are highly effective) and in the last phase of exploration and rebuilding we move on.

One way to cope with change and uncertainty is collaborations with the collective intelligence principles in mind.

In Japan it is called Nemawashi. It’s a bottom-up cultural principle preparing for change. The word “Nemawashi” represents the roots underground. It’s a process of agreement preparing ground for change. Consent reduces resistance and helps to harness employees for change.

How is this relevant in our lives? Many of us still live in uncertainty and trying to find solutions to the new era we are in. Collaborations, consultations with a diverse group of people, openness to new opinions and especially an attempt to reach an agreement. Whether we are independent or part of an organization, we are required to pay more attention to the way we manage change, otherwise change drives us.

And now for the mysterious gift that made my daughter send me this message:
“Daddy, I just read the book I received as a gift. It really really moved me, and I cannot stop crying, it really is the best gift you could give me. I love you ❤️”
An hour later she wrote: “It really moved me. I’m still crying.”

What can make our children cry with such joy and happiness?

Hint – this is not a new phone, not a trip abroad and nothing that can be bought with money.

About 10 years ago I opened a new email account for each of my three children for their 18th birthday. An idea I’ve got from my friend Ori Eisen. They knew there was such a mailbox and I told them that they would only receive the password at the age of 18.

Whenever something interesting happens in their life, I send them an email. Sometimes just a few words, sometimes a long email, sometimes a picture, or sharing in an exciting moment. I also shared in difficult moments. Boycott, adolescence extreme reactions, my perspective on first love and much more.

Last week we celebrated Maya’s 18th birthday with extended family. I printed a book with select emails (over 100 pages) and gave her this book with the password for this account.

maya matana

I decided to continue sending messages to this mailbox. Nothing urgent. Just thoughts and experiences. Whenever she wants, she can go in and read and now also reply.

If you have small children or grandchildren, I highly recommend this idea. Create an email for their 18th years old birthday. It’s not just a wonderful childhood memory, it’s an opportunity for your kids to understand a bit what it’s like to be their parent and get a special perspective on their life.

I wish you happy Easter / Hanukkah and good health.

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