Monday, January 19, 2009

A Shoebox Full of Love

My dad passed away back in 1997. It seems unreal to me that so much time has passed since he made his transition.

January 15th is his birthday. He would have been 79 years old this past January 15th. In honor of his birthday, I wanted to share something special about my ‘daddy.’

When I was in college, and even for several years afterwards, I was very strapped for cash. I had scholarships, grants and financial aid/loans to get through school, but I had to work a lot in order to make it through. I chose to go to a small, private university and that was not cheap. I worked really hard and have always been proud that I did it on my own.

Although my dad couldn’t help me much financially with school, he did something that was even more precious to me. He had a special and sweet way of supporting me through the ‘lean years.’

Pretty much every week, without fail, I would receive a note in the mail from my dad. There was frequently a comic strip included. He would clip out funny things that he thought I would enjoy. Often he would add his own ‘enhancements’ to the article or comic strip. Dad had a great sense of humor, and his little items always brought a smile to my face.

There was always a little note from him inside. “Have a good day Kid!” “Give ‘em hell kid!” Something that let me know he was thinking of me and that he believed in me.

Then there was always the ‘diet coke’ money. I was big into diet coke back then. (To be clear I’ve been off the stuff for years and years now – having found it to be the source of my migraine headaches and countless other health challenges). Diet coke, at that time, was one of my ‘pleasures.’ He would always include a couple bucks, or a $5 bill and put a sticky note on it that said, “Have one on me Kid!” or something cute like that.

It didn’t take my dad long to do this, and yet it touched me deeply each and every time I received a letter with all those little goodies inside.

I still have a shoe box in my closet, with almost everything he ever sent me in those letters. Well, of course, everything but the money – which is in the coffers of the Coca Cola Company!

I treasure those memories of my dad… and I treasure the feelings I had when I received his little communiqu├ęs. It was a simple act, by a gentle man, that let me know he loved me, cared about me, believed in me and supported me in what I was doing. Priceless!

If you have kids… don’t ever underestimate the impact of little acts of caring. I’m a big believer in putting notes in your kid’s lunch bags, or tucking notes into their coat pockets, or leaving them on the bathroom mirror. It doesn’t need to take long or be elaborate to build a bond and a memory that will live in them forever.

I love this company, Compendium. It’s a local company here in my neck of the woods. They sell many inspirational products. One of my favorite items that they sell is sets of little pop open quote cards that contain inspirational quotes. They have a neat set for kids that are intended to be tucked into lunch boxes. If you need a little inspiration for this sort of endeavor, check it out:

Compendium Lunch Mail Cards

Otherwise, get out a pad of Post-it notes, or a simple piece of paper… and write your “Kid” a little note of praise, encouragement and love. No matter how they react (or don’t) in the moment… you are making a long lasting impact!

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