Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Doing the right thing

The phone rings.  Caller ID shows it is school calling - or work, the Dr., or a seldom heard from relative.  My first reaction is to expect something bad.  Something happened at school; there is a problem at work; the lab tests discovered a tumor; or somebody died.  Why do we always think the worst?  The obvious answer is, because it is usually bad news.

I can't remember ever receiving a call from the Dr. with good news.  They send me a post card or letter if all of the tests are normal and only call if something is out of whack.  And a call from one of my few remaining Aunts, immediately makes me hesitate to answer for fear of bad news.

If you are a mother of young children or teenagers, when was the last time school called to tell you that your child did good?  You can't think of any?  That's because it doesn't happen nearly enough.  But when it does happen, a lot of good comes of it.  Grins spread from face, to face, to face as the news spreads.

My daughter received one such phone call from school the other day.  You can read about it here.  The teacher was calling to tell her just how wonderful her 14 year old son, Travis is.  That one call generated a whole lot of smiles.

When I told Travis how proud I am of him, he grinned and then said, "It's no big deal.  If you're proud of me, then you have to be proud of Colin (his best friend), because he does the same thing."  This grandma is button popping proud of both of those boys.  They are spreading kindness and reaping the benefits.

A person doesn't really know how important a kind word, or gentle pat of the hand is, until it happens to them, or they are the ones giving the encouragement or gentle touch - and then benefit from the resulting appreciation.

At Allen's birthday party this weekend, I experienced just how important kindness - and listening - is.  My daughter-in-law's  grandpa was recently diagnosed with throat cancer.  Being a cancer survivor myself, I know what it is like to be the "sick one" and how people don't know what to say.  You are truly the "elephant in the room".  The truth is, they never needed to say anything.  It was enough for them to sit down by me and let me talk if I felt like it.  So that is what I did with Alicia's Grandpa John.  Even though it hurt to talk, talk he did.  We held hands, and we/he talked.  I only had to say an occasional word to encourage him.   He reminded me of my dad when he was trying to be strong.  John talked of giving up and not giving up and everything in between.  Hours later, when we got ready to leave, John gave me a bear hug and thanked me for talking to him.  I don't think it ever occurred to him that all I did was listen.  He gave me a whole lot more from our little talk than I could ever have given him.  But we'll let that be our little secret.

So, what are you going to do tomorrow?  If you have time, share some good news and watch the smiles spread.  Or take time to sit and listen to someone who just needs to talk.  You will be glad you did and the glow you come away with will last for days.  I promise.

16 comments:

Vicki Lane said...

So true -- just being there is far more important than words.

Osage Bluff Quilter said...

You guys have such a strong family. I am glad to call you my friends.

That corgi :) said...

I read your daughter's post (and left a comment, LOL) Travis is a truly wonderful compassionate young man! So glad he and Colin are choosing to do the right things instead of going along with the "crowd" and are reaching out to others in need! It warmed my heart to read about him! Thanks for sharing that!

You did the very best thing with talking to your DIL's grandfather. I bet he did his heart good that someone took the time to talk with him and really listen; not ignore it, not try to gloss it over, but just to listen.

I'll have to remember that......

totally know what you mean about the telephone; I have grown to hate it because most of the news is never good that comes through the phone lines indeed!

betty

Funny in My Mind said...

I agree. I think there is too much negativity and anger in the world and not enough kind words and laughter. I was pleasantly surprised this week at all of the positive feedback we received with our name and menu change. Sure, there were rude comments and unreasonable suggestions, but the good outweighed the bad.
Your grandson is amazing, I hope he continues to do what is right, not what is cool or expected by teen standards.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

What good advice. Sometimes it is important just to listen. It puts the focus on somebody other than ourselves. Thank you, wonderful post.

Cheryl @ The Farmer's Daughter said...

I believe that being a listener is a gift that we can give. There are so many who won't take the time, they are usually too busy talking themselves and wanting their voice heard. Even if there aren't any answers, just sharing the time and being there is important.

Toriz said...

This was a beautiful post!

Whenever I see my Nan (Dad's Mother, who is 83) I always listen to whatever she decides she needs to talk about... Even if she's told me it a thousand times, or I really don't have any interest in the topic in question. I know it makes her feel good to know someone is listening to her. And it makes me feel good to know I'm making her feel good.

Rita said...

What a beautiful, thoughtful post. And how true!! I'm sure he appreciated talking with someone--especially someone he knows also has had to deal with similar health issues. Means so much to be heard--or even to just sit with somebody who cares. :):):)

spacegirl60 said...

It takes someone like you to know just listening means so much more. So many people don't know what to say or how to say it...but, that is a good thing too. It means they haven't lived through it themselves.

You are so kind and thoughtful. LOL okay, stop laughing now.

AliceKay said...

I read your daughter's post about Travis the other day. He's a remarkable young man. He's learned things at his young age that some grown men (and women) never, ever learn. I can understand your pride in him.

It was nice of you to talk to (and listen to) John. You realized what so many people didn't. I bet he will remember that "talk" for a long time. :)

junyah said...

Ring Ringgg

Nezzy said...

What a wonderful young man Travis is, go ahead Grandma...throw out that chest and pop some buttons. It is your grandmotherly rite. :o)

So sad that it is true, we are a negative people. I tend to live in La~La Land and look toward the bright side of the mountain.

Before I retired our principal used to call students into his office for "caught bein' good". The students were always scared to death when they had to go to the office.

You have a blessed day sweetie!

tmarie said...

I don't think you realize what an amazing person you are mom!

Anonymous said...

Words cannot express how greatful I am that you talked (listened) to my Grandpa on Sunday. He needed that more than anything. We may need to call on you during the very difficult weeks ahead. He seemed to speak to you like I have never seen him speak before. Love you! Alicia

jewelzmomof4 said...

Tessa you are right I don't think Mom knows what an amazing person she is!!! Mom i found myself crying reading this. To see how proud u r of Travis makes me so happy!!! Then to read on and hear about how Alicia's Grandpa talked to you like that and you being the kind soul you are sat and listened, knowing that is what he needs was just so special. I am so proud to call you my MOM!!!!

Intense Guy said...

This was indeed a most beautiful post!

Its no wonder both Tessa and Julie sing you praises Punkn... :)

I hope the best for your daughter-in-law's grandpa. May he be able to sing with joy - for someone special put some in his heart.