“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ~ Leo F. Buscaglia
My sister, Weez, posted an interesting question on her Facebook page that read, “ How many of us really know everybody on our Facebook Friend List? Here’s a task for you… I want all my Facebook friends to post how you met me, no matter how you ‘met’ me. After you comment, copy this to your status. You may be amazed at the responses you get. This might be interesting…” Two interesting responses caught my attention because I don’t remember either of the instances very clearly, but other people remember them all these years later.
Weez is the youngest of my siblings. We have an older brother, Joey. When my mom brought Weez home from the hospital, apparently Joey and I made her a cake – probably the very first time either of us made anything beyond a PB&J. Joey was almost 8 and I was almost 2. My guess is that Joey did most of the baking and I probably licked the batter off the spoon. But, now that I think of it, I was a determined child so I probably did some cooking, too. What makes me laugh now is that making a cake (or cupcakes or some type of dessert) is always my go-to item for a potluck dinner or a visitor. I never did lose my sweet tooth. And neither did Joey or Weez.
Though we’re all grown up now, I keep a picture on my wall of the three of us in my grandmother’s backyard. It was taken not long after we made Weez her welcome home cake. It’s still one of my very favorite photos. When I look at it, I think anything is possible.
Megan (O’Leary) Wheeler is one of my childhood friends. I must have met her when I was in kindergarten. She lived not too far from me considering that we grew up in a very rural area, and she appears in almost all of my class pictures from elementary school. Above, Megan is in second row, second from the left with the plaid dress and I’m in the second row, fourth from the left, in the white shirt and purple skirt. (Aren’t we cute?!)
When I was in 1st grade, certain toys were all the rage and anyone who’s anyone had them. My Little Ponies were particularly popular and I begged my mother for one until she finally caved. I brought Apple Jack home and was extremely proud of her. At recess, I remember that the girls with a My Little Pony all got together and played with our ponies, brushing their hair and giving them voices to tell stories.
Megan didn’t have a My Little Pony, but really wanted to be in the club so I shared mine with her so she could sit with us. To answer Weez’s Facebook question, Megan wrote, “We went to school together and I knew you through your awesome sister who rallied for me to be allowed in the very exclusive “My Little Ponies Club” in the first grade, even though I didn’t have one at the time and the other girls said, “No”…. Christa shared her’s with me so I wouldn’t feel left out. ( Not only was that insight into the wonderful person she would become, but I will never forget her kindness even at an early age.) And having the privilege of getting to know you, it was no surprise to me that you are every bit as much of an incredible person as she is.” I got tears in my eyes after reading that message.
I remember the My Little Pony Club and I remember Megan being there, but I don’t remember her not having a My Little Pony. I guess I really did think of Apple Jack as hers as much as she was mine. I guess that same sentiment comes through in my community service work today, my interest in social entrepreneurship, and my desire to someday soon return to nonprofit work. I never did understand exclusivity, and I certainly never understood why more people don’t share what they have with others.
Small actions make a big difference in the lives of others. Small kindnesses and events are remembered for decades after they happen. Our kind and generous acts continue to live in the hearts of others long after we ourselves have forgotten those acts. They matter, and by extension they help us matter, too. We just never know how much they might mean to someone.