In the midst of all of my family's End-of-the-School-Year activities, I've been mulling over what I wanted to say next on this blog, and it was my 5th grader's teachers and bus driver who finally inspired me. Of course, they have no idea they did this, and that makes their seed of inspiration that much more powerful.
Whenever teachers and parents get together, they naturally talk about the children. Parents want to get the "inside scoop" of what goes on in the classroom and how their child is doing, and teachers look for ways to compliment and encourage the parents and student.
We all know that a good student is a joy to teach and a valuable asset to any classroom, but what makes a "good student"? Well, in various conversations this afternoon, I heard the teachers saying things like, she's so caring and sensitive, he has a heart of gold, she's wonderfully conscientious, it was so nice to see how s/he really opened up during the year, and I wish we had a classroom full of students like him. The teachers were grateful for good behavior, but they were really focusing in on character traits and on who the children are and what's in their hearts and souls. I never once heard, oh she's a great student because her clothes are so nice, oh he has the most expensive school supplies, or she has the best backpack. It even sounds silly to read things like that, doesn't it?
That observation lead me to think about people, in general. We all know that a good person is a joy to be around and a valuable asset to the neighborhood and community. So what makes a "good person"? If we follow the lead of my son's teachers, a good person is defined by their character and what's in their heart and soul.
Do we always live as though that's true? Do we believe, and live as though, our value lies within our hearts and souls, or are we focused on the outward symbols and signs of success and wealth? Are we happy with what we have or always looking to accumulate the latest and greatest? And when we get the latest and greatest, do we share them to spread the joy or are we really just showing off? Are we keeping to our budgets or "keeping up with the Joneses"?
I think it might be wise to follow the lead of our teachers and spend more time finding and appreciating the goodness in our hearts. Instead of accumulating more material things, we should accumulate more good friends and good relationships. Instead of tallying up our millions of dollars, we should tally up our hours of service to others. Instead of worrying about having all that everyone else has, we should worry about alleviating the stress that others may be carrying. Instead of teaching our children that more is better through our buying habits and actions, we should be teaching them that less is more when it comes to material possessions, and more is better when it comes to love, affection, caring, listening, and time spent together.
We are born, after all, with just our hearts and souls. When we die, we re-enter the Spiritual World not with the physical possessions that we've accumulated, but with the wisdom and knowledge we have accumulated through the use of our special God given talents and gifts.
The treasures in life can not be purchased, horded, held, or seen. The true treasures in life are felt in our hearts, known to our souls, and given away as much and as often as possible.
I ask you to look within and ponder your greatness. Appreciate what makes you a "good person". Then go and be the treasure to this world that you were born to be.