I have a tradition with some very dear people that the day after Thanksgiving, instead of hitting the 'Black Friday' madness, we go to thrift stores! We get up early and make sure we're the first at the doors of some of our favorite places. This year there were 3 adults, one 16 year old and his younger 11 year old brother. They were just as into the shopping as we were! It's a great place for me in particular to find things for my art stash. Unique children's picture books for greeting cards, a sweater or sweat shirt that I can sew on some cool designs....the list goes on...
But what really got my attention was, at one of the stores we went to, Ty, the sixteen year old found a large white t-shirt that said, "World's Greatest Dad ~ Hands Down!" Holding it out to us, he said, "I'm gonna get this for my dad. It'll make him smile and it's only two bucks."
I started thinking about that. He was going to buy something for his father that would make him smile for two dollars! It's not the monetary value that I'm looking at here, but I am looking at the question, "How much is a smile worth to us?" How much WOULD we pay in a monetary value to make someone else smile? How much would WE pay to make ourselves smile? How much do we ALREADY pay to make others or ourselves happy?
One of my friends is a school teacher of 4th graders. She is very creative with them and each of them have their own personal class check book. They get 'pretend' money to put into their check books from different incentives such as 'being perfectly quiet during a fire drill' or getting all your homework done on time, or getting a really good grade, etc. All kinds of stuff like that. Then she collects small toys and gadgets for a small 'store' that the children can write 'checks' for. It's also great to teach them how to balance a checkbook. So I shared with her the story of Ty's t-shirt for his dad and asked her what she thought of extending the same idea to her class room. How much will her kids in her class pay to make someone else smile? How will they spend that money to make it happen?
She's still working out the particulars of how it will all work out, but I can't wait for the results. I will post it here, too when it happens.
With the holidays approaching, we are all busy getting gifts to HOPEFULLY make someone 'smile', feel good, etc. For whatever reason we give a gift, let's step back a bit further and find other ways to give that doesn't have a monetary value. TIME! Give the gift of yourself to someone that you don't see very often, or someone that you WANT to see more often and take a walk together! Go have a hot chocolate together! Talk to each other! Laugh! Make fun coupons for others that entitles the bearer to a historical site that you've never seen right in your own town! Maybe a drive along the beach!
TIME! We all know it goes by fast. Think of what a big smile that will be permanently left in someone's heart by spending your TIME with them. And then, think of the big smile that will be permanently left in YOUR heart. Thus, the gift. You. Me. Us. All.
Keep it Joy-FULL!!!