Life is filled with treasures we often don’t consider. Beginning before our birth, many times, without us being able to recognize it, people make decisions which will affect our entire existence.
When we are young, some of us will consider whether we want to have children. There are times when that decision is out of our hands, such as in an unplanned pregnancy. Regardless, if we create a new life, we will have many more decisions facing us. Ultimately, and hopefully, each decision will help form that child’s future and guide him/her in a reasonable and productive direction. If so, we will have begun building an invaluable collection. Although intangible, each treasure can represent greater value than any tangible gift.
That realization came to me one day while I was visiting with a high school friend at the end of the school day. My father was a distributor of dairy products and had a delivery of replacement products three days a week. This was one of those days. When I mentioned that I needed to go home to help unload the truck, my friend asked, “What do you get for doing that?” I asked, “What do you mean?” He added, “How much do you get paid?” Without in-depth thought, magically I stated, “I get three meals a day, a roof over my head, and when I ask if I can go to a movie, my parents usually give me the money.” For some reason, I didn’t mention another important gift, clothing. While many children assume those things are a parent’s obligation, I never took it for granted. My parents were not wealthy in terms of material possessions, but they were very giving of their love, care and protection.
Consider the dedication many parents have toward their child’s upbringing. From that child’s inception until who-knows-when, the parental involvement is continuous. I, at one time, thought a parent would be able to relax, for example, after the child left for school. Not so soon! Many parents care and think about their child 24/7, with no time out. While, in many cultures, that is expected, it does not always happen. During my childhood, my parents were always thinking about me and my siblings. In my opinion, a parent’s gift of time is among the most meaningful!
While attending elementary school, since my father left very early to begin his deliveries, my mother would be sure we were properly dressed and fed; then, she would pack a lunch if necessary. At times, if my parents could afford it, we would eat at the cafeteria. She always made sure we were prepared. And she either sent us off on foot or on bicycles; or, if the weather was bad, she would dress and drive us to school. Think about the time involved! Her day didn’t end there. Our supper needed planning and preparation, and afterward it needed to be cleaned up. Again, think about the time involved.
My parents gave, gave and gave some more. Matter of fact, they NEVER STOPPED giving of themselves. Parents aren’t our only benefactors. While they are very important, we have others who contribute vast resources to our learning and experience processes.
Teachers, for instance, spend years learning how to build our knowledge base.
It’s not easy! As one instructor said in a class I attended about “Teaching Technical Topics,” “Anyone can teach! However, causing someone to learn is something entirely different.” Therefore, a sincere and dedicated teacher will provide many people uncountable gifts.
Every person we each encounter during our lifetime, will, often being unaware, add another gift to our personal vault.