Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Investment with the Highest Returns

My Granny taught me so many things; how to garden, how to can fruits and vegetables, make jellies, wilted lettuce, and cottage cheese, churn butter, and the list goes on and on and on. I’m able to do many things most people these days don’t even realize can be done outside of a factory all because of Granny. But it’s not so much what she taught me as how she taught me.

Granny was never in too much of a hurry to let me do things with her.  From the time I was about 5 years old, we worked side by side. She patiently showed me what to do and how to do it right. I can’t count the times she’s say, “I’ll tell you like my mom always told me…if you don’t do it right the first time, you’ll get the privilege of doing it again.”

It would have been so much easier (and quicker) for her to do things herself, but she didn’t. She could have used the ‘watch me so you’ll know what to do when you get older’ approach, but she didn’t. No, instead, Granny used the hands-on approach to teaching me to be a woman who knew how to provide for her home and her family.

As mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and teachers, we need to take a lesson from Granny. Each time we pass up the opportunity to walk a little slower to allow little feet to keep up with us, or deny ourselves the privilege of sweeping up an extra cup of flour off the floor after baking a batch of cookies, or opt for flower beds with flowers perfectly color coordinated and spaced instead of one with a more whimsical look, we have passed up a golden opportunity to make special memories with the children we love. These moments-I call them ‘teachable moments’-are lost forever once they pass, so see them for the treasures they are and make the most of them whenever you get the chance.

The memories we have of the special people in our lives are the result of their ability to see these teachable moments for what they are. In other words, these people took the time to investment in us-in our lives. And in turn, we need to make a similar investment into the lives of the young people we love. Think of it as the emotional circle of life.

I couldn’t possibly talk this emotional circle of life and investing yourself into someone’s life without talking about Carol Bennett. She touched hundreds of lives and invested a part of herself in each and every one of them…

Carol Bennett was my daughter, Elizabeth’s, kindergarten teacher. She had been teaching for many years when Elizabeth had her and was nearing the end of her career. But Carol was a good teacher and it was obvious she truly cared about her students. But never in a million years would I have imagined she would continue to care so many years later.

Fast forward from kindergarten to Elizabeth’s senior year in high school; graduation was approaching and Elizabeth was receiving gifts and cards from family and friends. One evening as she was opening up the mail she had received, I heard her say, “Oh, isn’t that so sweet!” I was just about to ask her what she thought was ‘so sweet’, when she sat a card and picture down in my lap. The card was from her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Bennett. It read, “I’m proud to have been a part of your education. Good luck in the future.” The picture was one Elizabeth had drawn in kindergarten!

Each year Carol Bennett kept one picture from each of her students. And 13 years later she took the time to send it-along with a card of congratulations to each student who was still in the area.  Carol had retired two or three years after Elizabeth had been in her class, so the fact that she wasn’t even involved in the school system anymore and had a plethora of other things she could have been doing with her time, made it even more special. I know I don’t need to tell you this, but Carol Bennett is someone who cares!

Remember…at the heart of some of our most treasured memories is the fact that someone like Granny or Carol let us know how much we meant to them. Whose memories are you helping to make?  
Momma D