Mama was a remarkable woman. Sadly, she never seemed to know it. I wish she had read and embraced this quote by Kerr.
Mama knew how to love until it hurt and to give until there was nothing left. But someone must have told her the fairy tale that those qualities weren't precious and to be treasured. That compassion, empathy, generosity were not traits valued by others.
I didn't realize this about Mama until Mary was a toddler.
Mama loved bananas, any way, shape or form. We grew up eating banana puddin' and banana sandwiches and straight out of the peel. You can find the nutrient rich fruit in my house most of the time.
One afternoon at Mama and Daddy's, toddler Mary spotted bananas in Granny's kitchen. Of course she had to have the healthy snack. Gently tearing back the waxy peel, Mary proudly demonstrated to Granny how to pull the strings from the banana without breaking the fruit.
Joking, but with a note of seriousness in her voice, Mama said, "At least I taught Mary how to string a banana." I'm pretty sure Mary learned plenty of other things from her Granny, you know, like compassion, empathy, generosity.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if each of us came with a content label, similar to the ones on garments? They would be there to remind us of the positive qualities we possess, uniquely combined for a perfect fit. Our labels would also affirm our value and potential to others.
Our nephew, Philip, is in his 30s, a husband and proud father of four. I'll never forget my sister-in-law telling us one day that Philip had come home from preschool with a "Good Napper" sticker. Don't you love that? Some amazing caregiver knew how important it was to look for and validate every positive trait we can. I wish I'd realized much sooner how much Mama needed a Good Napped sticker.
What works for me, at home, at school, in social gatherings and impersonal settings is to deliberately seek a reason give someone a Good Napper sticker. Validating others, especially strangers, is kind of a game to me, often with unexpected rewards.
Are you familiar and comfortable with your content label? Have you played the Good Napper game lately? What unexpected rewards brightened your day?
I'm linking this post to Giving Up on Perfect and Coffee for Your Heart.
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Eliab is tall and handsome, but don’t judge by things like that. God doesn’t look at what people see. People judge by what is on the outside, but the Lord looks at the heart. Eliab is not the right man.”