Paperwork: Often the best gifts are little things that stick to our day.

Sometimes the best gift is giving back.

By that I mean giving back what you’ve been given.

Let me explain with a simple video clip I saw recently. It’s a bit over one minute long, yet covers years and echoes a life journey.

And for me, it stands as a profound essay on giving.

The video centers on a man opening a gift. It’s wrapped in newspaper. (Yes, I do love that.)

He rips away the paper and in seconds recognizes what he’s looking at. He is overcome, no doubt by a rush of memories and the meaning of it all.

He’s holding a large picture frame. Under glass, he sees a mass of yellow sticky notes. They are pasted around a photo of himself, arms wrapped around his stepdaughter when she was much younger.

“I kept them all,” she tells her dad. She posted her video on Twitter and it’s been shared across several social media platforms by hundreds of thousands.

Her message to the outside world was short: “During middle school, my stepdad used to leave me a note on my door each day to inspire me. Well, I kept those notes & it’s been 6 years since then. Today I gave him those notes back #HappyFathersDay.”

There’s a lot packed into this story, after you tell yourself, “Wow. What a perfect gift.”

Now I’d like to read all those notes. See what they say. But I don’t need that to understand their importance. I can sense the overall message without reading the exact words.

I suspect they all blended into a common refrain: “Love you. Proud of you. Have a great day. Be strong. Be you. You’ll do great. I’m on your side.” And on and on.

It’s what parents do. Sending out those many little messages to our kids and those we love. Even as we say them we don’t dwell on their importance. And we expect those on the receiving end don’t either.

I guess that’s what makes Sophia’s gift-giving lesson significant. It tells a story about the bonds people build with each other – day by day.

(Watch the video and you’ll feel the punch. Search online for Sophia Kallie. You’ll find it. And more.)

The stepdad left those notes every day. Every day. The best part is he didn’t shout them out as she left for school. He wrote them down. (The written word can survive in a world of echoes and static.)

And Sophia saved them for years. For years.

She has shown us how little things can become a powerful message. Those little sticky notes she pulled off her door are now clinging to her stepdad’s heart.

What goes around, comes around. Right? I have mumbled this to myself often over time. And, yes, it often seems to apply to the negatives in life. Live by the sword, die by the sword. That sort of thing.

But how about all those positive things in our lives? The little things people have done for you that turned into stepping stones, ladders up, life preservers or simply warmth at a cold moment.

Sophia’s short video resonated for good reason. One of the thousands of comments reads:

“So beautiful, a man and daughter! Tears over here. I can relate.

“As a youth, I was fortunate to have a grandfather who took me on his real estate construction job sites. I had the honor of riding shotgun in his work truck, helping him in the garage, handing him his tools, ... helping him with business matters as I grew.

“My grandfather made me breakfast every morning before he left for work and me for school. He told me to watch others and learn from their mistakes versus my own. I watched him pray and tear up at John Wayne movies.

“Whenever I would feel anxious about something at school or work, I had an uncle who would say things like:

“You have a good head on your shoulders, kid.”

“You are going to be OK.” ...

“As a girl, I am blessed by men who had confidence in me and encouraged me. I miss them.”

Yes, acknowledge what you have been given from others. But also think about what you gave. Often you do it without thinking. But think about it now.

Sophia and her stepdad have shown us how important the daily give-and-take can be. We should appreciate that now, as each day passes.

Because most of it would be hard to save for later to frame and wrap as a gift. But it’s not hard to appreciate those gifts each day.

But remember … it’s give and take. Thank those who gave to you, and give back when you can.

Lonny Cain, the retired managing editor of The Times in Ottawa, also was a reporter for the Herald-News in Joliet in the 1970s. Email or mail The Times, 110 W. Jefferson St., Ottawa, IL 61350.