It is something I will always remember. In she came proud as a peacock, in clunky high heeled shoes way too big for her tiny little feet clickety clacking across the classroom floor.
Grinning from ear to ear, she eagerly announced “Mrs. R. I have brought you a birthday present today and I want everyone here to know I spent TONS of money on it!” I couldn’t help but smile as the first thing I noticed was the beat up Christmas bag was filled to capacity with a purple balloon already blown up. Underneath were other interesting treasures that included a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy, a plastic flower, and some shiny bracelets. She could hardly contain her excitement and it was very evident. Her kind gesture touched me and I thanked her very much for her thoughtfulness, as her classmates watched with keen interest. Later on that morning as others scurried off to recess, she curiously lingered behind looking quite sheepish as she asked if she could speak to me “privately.” As we chatted she said “I have to be honest with you. I didn’t spend a ton of money on your gift I, well I…. found all this stuff in my room and I am so sorry. I just wanted so badly to give you something.” O.k. how sweet is that? I thanked her for her honesty and assured her that I found her gift very meaningful as it was truly the best she had and was given with such love. She clearly gave her best to someone she loved.
Next I recall another little boy I had one year. Whenever he was faced with a challenge in class, he was known to always say “I will try my best.” He clearly lived up to that motto as no matter what came his way at school, following that premise, he was very successful. He clearly gave his best day after day.
Giving our best means different things for different people. The smallest gesture can have the greatest impact, especially when we know that there has been a sacrifice involved. We have just come through the Christmas season. It is often the case that we can get caught up in spending way too much, yet it is sometimes the simpler gifts of the heart that leave the most lasting impression. Those are often more heartfelt and sincere as they have involved sentiment towards the one they are intended for. There is a great Christmas book out by Peter H. Reynolds called The Smallest Gift of Christmas. In the book the little boy kept wanting a bigger gift under the tree as he could see nothing worthwhile from anything in a small box. In the end he realizes that the gift of family and love, though some may think is small, is truly the biggest gift of all.
People may wonder: how do we give our best day after day when life is just plain hard at times? We need to make a commitment to strive to give our best to each other. One way we can do this is by limiting our screen time. Almost everyone has cell phones these days, but life goes on beyond the tiny screen. I am trying to be more mindful of this and more emotionally present for my family. Facebook and Twitter can’t hold a candle to some honest and meaningful conversation with those you love, trust me.
Giving our best means accepting our limitations and just being content with what life brings our way. It is easy to get discouraged when things aren’t going according to schedule or things are not going as we planned. It is during those times that we have to remind ourselves that doing our best each day is all anyone can ask of us. It is our responsibility to keep pressing on, knowing that life brings ups and downs, but we can overcome one day at a time.
Giving our best each day involves offering others hope and encouragement and sharing our insights on the lessons we have learned. Helping others brings out the best in all of us, as it helps us shift our focus to someone else.
Giving our best each day means learning from our mistakes. I once had a boss who would always say “You made a mistake. Great! Let’s celebrate it! There is so much to be learned here!” I have never forgotten that perspective and do believe it does make sense and has helped me through some tough times.
Giving our best means taking time for proper self-care. We are useless if we are used up. Over the Christmas break I have been doing a lot of resting. I also booked a massage and pedicure. I have taken time to read, watch movies, exercise and catch up with friends. It feels great to indulge a bit and recharge my batteries. I have people depending on me which includes my family, friends and a sweet group of little people at work and I want to offer them my best that is certain.
Finally giving our best each day means realizing that we do not have to do it alone. We can choose to have God empower us to reach our true potentials each day. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. The Bible also talks about that when we are weak, He is strong. That is so reassuring to know that we can choose to include God in our daily lives and He will work to truly bring out the best in us for others.
Giving our best is not always easy, but one day at a time it can be done. We are only human and we will all have ups and downs, but knowing that each new day that comes brings us a fresh start is very reassuring. Keep on doing your best each day. It is being noticed and remember you never really know how much your kind actions can impact someone.
Until next time,
Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Little Lesson Learned: Giving your best day after day can be difficult, but a one day at a time philosophy makes it much more manageable.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2015
Can you believe that Christmas is just around the corner? This year has just flown by and the fact that the Christmas season is in full swing along with the familiar sights, sounds and stressors is almost unbelievable!
Do You Hear What I Hear?
The sounds of Christmas are all around us. Carols, children laughing and well-wishers saying “Merry Christmas!” We have been practicing Christmas carols in my classroom for a few weeks now, and last week we had the pleasure of going caroling door to door at my school. It was so great to hear kids singing whole heartedly as others joined in. Spirits were lifted and a break in the routine was very welcome. I gave my students colouring books this year as a gift and while they worked happily, a few of us had a spontaneous dance party on the classroom carpet to Holly Jolly Christmas. One little guy knew all the words and we shared a “moment” together in all the craziness the season can bring, by singing, giggling and dancing together. It was one of those moments I wished I could bottle and save for a rainy day when I am needing a much needed ray of sunshine. Very cute! I hear people enjoy the season.
Do You See What I See?
Christmas decorations and holiday themed artwork adorn homes, halls and school classroom doors. We had a very fun door decorating contest at work. This helped to generate lots of excitement and gave the school a very festive feel. After twenty plus years of marriage my husband finally got me a wreath for my door. I had been wanting one for so long, but apparently, this was the year I got my wish. Seeing the wreath, it was definitely worth waiting for and the fact that it was made by a dear friend, made it even more special. Hustle and bustle is also in the air. I hope I have completed all my last minute shopping as I am determined to avoid the last minute rush this year. I see lots of festive sights.
Do You Feel What I Feel?
Nostalgia? Excitement? Fatigue? Stress? Maybe a combination of all four? For women especially I find the Christmas season brings it all. It is easy to focus on the “work” of getting ready for the Christmas season and miss the joy. A few week ago I was there. My daughter was on cloud nine as she launched into her own version of “100 Reasons Why I Love Christmas!” When she asked me my reasons, I was less than enthused. I could see the hurt in her face and I chose at that moment to supress the “Grinch” in me and embrace the holiday spirit. I did not want to crush anyone’s holiday spirit, especially my own kid! I feel a combination of emotions.
Do You Know What I Know?
Christmas comes and goes so quickly, and we need to enjoy it. Cherish the time with family and friends and make precious memories. Remember that it is not about the gifts, meal or decorations but truly about having those you love around you. Finally don’t forget that Jesus is the true reason for the season. He is the whole purpose of why we celebrate this blessed holiday in the first place, yet He is often overshadowed by good old Santa Claus. I wish you and yours a wonderful and very Merry Christmas and a blessed and prosperous new year. I know a Saviour who was and still is our greatest gift.
~ Until next time,
Luke 2:14: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.
Little Lesson Learned: The sounds, sights and experiences of Christmas are ours for the taking. Don’t miss the opportunity to really take it all in this year.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2015