Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Secret to Living is giving! And why Actions Speak Louder Than Words!

Six weeks in and loving it! In my mind, we’re now officially “home schoolers!” I was poignantly reminded of this when we walked into Color Me Mine, a local “make your own pottery place” that we frequent under the guise of “art class”. We were there to pick up our latest masterpieces. The clerk at the counter asked the kids if they had started their Valentines yet, and I chuckled. “We’re home schooled”, I quickly offered. “We don’t have to do those anymore.” And subconsciously, I felt myself release a HUGE sigh of relief as I recalled prior years and what Valentine’s Day meant in our world.

Typically, I hadn’t planned ahead. Usually, it hit me in the early evening the night before that I had again failed as a mother by not preparing for this event in July. My children would be shunned. Where would I find decent Valentines at 7:30 p.m. on a school night? Would I really have the energy to make the pilgrimage to every local Rite Aid until I found them? How could I then coerce my children to stay up until the wee hours of the morning writing notes of endearment to 25 acquaintances that they honestly weren’t that fond of? I even ventured into the extreme danger zone. “What is the worst thing that could happen if we just didn’t bring anything?” Ouch. Thankfully, we never went there. But, we never did school Valentine’s Day very well, and I was overjoyed to realize that I was leaving it behind!

Then, almost miraculously, I noticed a very sweet scene unfolding at the table next to the counter where we awaited our “prized creations”. A young father, with his two, itty bitty daughters had taken their Saturday afternoon to paint heart shaped statues with their heartfelt thoughts of appreciation lovingly expressed in color palettes that only a 3 and 5 year old could conceive of. First and foremost, I was in awe about the fact that he had planned so far ahead. His biggest dilemma now was whether to pay the $5 rush charge to absolutely guarantee, without a doubt that his wife could receive these treasures on Valentine’s Day. (He opted for the rush fee by the way. This guy was committed!)

How wonderful, I thought to myself. He took it upon himself to surprise his wife with these selfless displays of giving and he involved his children in the process. Think of the life lessons. Think of the memories. Think of the love his wife would feel and she opened these treasures on Valentine’s morning! (This guy would be good at homeschooling, I thought). And the amazing thing is (in my opinion at least) that he nailed it! As a mom, what I want most from my loved ones are these earnest and spontaneous gestures of unconditional love. Forget the flowers. Skip the chocolate! It’s appreciation, acknowledgment and a great back rub that I crave more than anything.

How “coincidental” it was that this caught my attention now. Our leadership topic for this week is “It is better to give than to receive”. It left me wondering what it is that my own significant other craves more than anything this Valentine’s Day. How far would a selfless gesture of our appreciation go in his mind? Sounds like an experiment worth pursuing. Hmmm. … I need to start on this now.

It also left me thinking that I could get it together for once in my life and have the kids make Valentines for the people in their life that are truly important to them and maybe, just maybe (I am not promising anything) get them in the mail in time to make a difference on that special day!

I have our “house rules” posted in the heart of our home--our refrigerator. The title, in 72 pt bold type says The Secret to Living is Giving! And this is followed by a list of Eder Family commandments by which we must abide. Somehow, I hope that each day as they grab their physical sustenance, they absorb some spiritual sustenance. I am not sure it is working. In fact, I am pretty sure that they selectively ignore this reminder now. As a back-up plan, I have a great curriculum laid out this for this week with excerpts from “giving gurus” to help my kids understand this important concept; “It is better to give than to receive.” My children will listen with varying degrees of open-mindedness, I am sure.

But sometimes it is the simple things, like actually doing something that mean so much more! Actions do speak louder than words. THERE ARE FOUR DAYS LEFT UNTIL VALENTINE’S DAY, a radio commercial just screamed to me. We’ll be getting busy now!

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