Posted by Danny
I often just miss the little things. I’m not sure why. Perhaps its a lack of focus or maybe a tad too much self-absorption. This trait didn’t instantly appear due to grief; I think I’ve always been this way. I’m just not aware of the small things that I could do to make others’ lives a little bit better.
Last week I stumbled into a tiny opportunity and took it without realizing what I’d done.
A mother from Michelle’s school sent an email to the other parents in the class asking if someone could cover her lunch duty. At our school, parents cover lunch once a week so that the teachers can have one day to eat in peace. I never signed up to help with this task (I’m sure I had more important things to do).
When I got the email, I glanced at my calendar and realized that I didn’t have a lunch meeting on the day she needed help so I shot a quick reply that I could help. I didn’t want to sound too eager in the event some other parent had already volunteered, although I was glad to take on this 30 minute role.
When she responded that I got the job, I entered it into my calendar and didn’t think another thing about it.
The next night when I arrived home, Michelle greeted me at the door.
“Dad, are you doing lunch duty for my class on Thursday?”
“Actually, I am. How did you find out?”
“My teacher told me. She said, ‘Mrs. Jones was coming to class on Wednesday for an art project and that Mr. Tanner was the parent volunteer for lunch this week.’ I said, ‘He is?’ I couldn’t believe it! You never do lunch duty!”
I gave her a hug and moved on about the business of cooking dinner. When we sat down to eat, I tossed out my usual conversation started, “OK, it’s that time! Tell me the best thing that happened to you today.”
Michelle jumped in, “My best thing was when my teacher told me that you were coming to lunch at my school tomorrow!”
That sweet little comment knocked the wind out of me. The best thing that happened to my child on Wednesday was finding out that I was spending 30 minutes at her school – WOW.
She did warn me not to do my stupid magic tricks at the lunch table – that they were in third grade now and that they wouldn’t be amused. So I didn’t. Instead, after leaving the dining room, I did my ostrich impression across the school blacktop. In fact, I taught all of the kids how to do it, and we ran back and forth four or five times, necks protruding, arms dangling out and knees bobbing up and down toward our armpits.
Michelle rolled her eyes, but she ran along with us laughing all the way.
I want to learn how to make more joy for my kids – and really for the world. If all it takes is 30 minutes and an animal impression, it just isn’t a very hard thing to do.