A Critique of “A Complicated Gift” by Maureen Dion

Posted on: September 4, 2011
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A Complicated Gift skyrocketed to the top of the list for Watch Me Bounce’s contest entries
mainly because the author, Maureen Dion, truly wrote from her heart. The story, told from the
viewpoint of a grandmother raising her grandchild, is not a diatribe or list of complaints, nor
does it preach values—rather, it manages to combine a visual, grabbing look at life while
exposing some heartfelt lessons learnt through the experience of raising a young child. This
is why we at Watch Me Bounce thought it important to give this true story the recognition it
deserves, and help promote the resilience mothers, fathers and other caretakers maintain every
single day of their busy productive lives.

Two factors of resilience in particular that this story can teach is the importance of making meaning and of caretakers.
Making Meaning: Everything has value. We just need to see the value
that is there. Even suffering, according to survivors like Victor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, can have meaning as well. A Complicated Gift tells us how. The story starts with a scene about the hardships of child raising, but then speaks about why the authors do it
anyway, and the meaning it has. This can no doubt be said about raising child in most
circumstances, where the very act of caring for, and building up, another life itself
gives meaning to the struggles involved.
The Importance of Caretakers: There is a lot of supporting evidence in
developmental psychology literature that points to the importance of caretakers.
In some cases, such as trauma, whether or not the child will develop PTSD (Post
Trauma Stress Disorder) or PTSD symptoms vs. being resilient in the face of trauma,
is determined more by the state of their caretaker than the adversity itself. In other
words, whether or not a caretaker is resilient makes an enormous difference in
whether the child will be resilient too. In A Complicated Gift, we see the story of a
person who is making a difference in large way for her grandchild.
-Watch Me Bounce Editorial Staff


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