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.