Did you ever read the book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten"? Whether or not you read the book, maybe you can remember back to those kindergarten days. I attended kindergarten in the afternoon, so I’d get to sleep in and lounge around in the mornings. My Grandma made me pancakes every morning and then took me to school. I remember learning the “I’m a Little Tea Pot” song and thinking how funny it was to see Mrs. Matthews make a spout with her arm and sing, “when I get all steamed up hear me shout, ‘tip me over and pour me out!’” I remember the letter of the week showing up at our door and thinking it was completely magical. What actually happened was an older grade student would place the inflatable letter at the door, knock and run. When one of my kindergarten classmates opened the door, there was our letter of the week! But perhaps my greatest memory in kindergarten was the self-realization that took place. I discovered how much I loved people. My parents thoroughly enjoyed telling the story about their first conference with my sweet teacher. She informed them that in all her years of teaching, I believe it was around 30 at the time, she had never had a student move to all the tables in the first nine weeks of school. Mrs. Matthews was trying to find a place for me to sit where I wouldn’t talk to anyone, but she soon discovered that I’d talk to whomever she set me beside.
These memories returned to my mind a couple of weeks ago while I was sitting around my kitchen table with some of my co-workers; John, Kersten, Bette and Stuart. The afternoon had been spent with a small group of people who were strangers to me just a little over a year ago, but now felt like family. Our little get together was more than just eating, swimming and enjoying a sunny afternoon together. Our afternoon was about relationships and the value it gives to the lives that take time to build them.
This all leads me to wonder, “How does social media inhibit the potential of our relationships and friendships?” Do we have a false sense of connection because we can conveniently post a comment or like a status? When someone dies, is sufficient sympathy and comfort expressed online? When one undergoes surgery, is love and support given through electronic communication? Don’t get me wrong. I utilize social media practically everyday, but I am mindful of letting it become the foundation for my friendships.
The most precious product we have to give is our time. And I’m confident that those investments yield the greatest return. How? People change people. Whether you are reaching out, or you’re being reached out to; it will change you. Sending a card. Making a meal. Meeting for coffee. A call just to pray. I realize the cost; the commitment of time, the awkwardness felt reaching outside our comfort zone, the risk of rejection. But remember who it's for? The time, the awkwardness, the risk? It's for others. For a creation God loves so very much. People.
I pray we are provoked to make a positive evaluation and challenge to the relationships we hold so dearly in our lives. May we consider the lives of those around us. May we have purpose and intention in every life we touch, and acknowledgement and thankfulness for those who touch ours.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ~ NIV Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
“You may never have proof of your importance but you are more important than you think. There are always those who couldn’t do without you. The rub is that you don’t always know who.” ― Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
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