03 Oct Do You Have Time for Little Things?
by Erin Weist
Driving home from a family dinner tonight my husband taught me a great lesson. As we began our drive, a light-hearted argument commenced about what to listen to on the radio. Since it was Sunday I had turned it to classical, orchestral music. There were several cries of “No more classical, please!” along with my protestations about how peaceful it sounded. Then the boys rallied together and insisted we listen to football instead. Wholeheartedly, my husband agreed and, amid mild protests from mom (who still wanted classical), turned to a sports radio station, settling in for a relaxing ride home with a satisfied smile. Then a small voice peeped up from the back. Our daughter hadn’t spoken up yet and her sweet voice asked simply, “Can we sing songs together instead?” Without hesitation, and despite the fact that football is his relaxing fall-time activity, he switched off the radio with a smile, asking what she would like to sing.
Despite stresses in his own life he reminded me of the great joy he finds from serving his children, even at the sacrifice of his own desires. But, in following his example, I find that those “sacrifices” of my time rarely turn out to be a true sacrifice. Most often the rewards I receive from loving and serving my children far outweigh any personal desires that I leave behind in that endeavor. And I am left with a happy car full of singing children.
When we arrived home and the younger children went to bed, my oldest son asked me to play a game with him. Remembering the joyful example of my husband, instead of curling my tired body up on the couch to read, I gladly accepted and spent the next 45 minutes playing chess. I may have many years to curl up on the couch to read but I don’t have forever to sit on a Sunday evening and play chess with my son. And the reward I get watching my children grow and improve far outweigh any benefits that I get when reading by myself.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the renowned author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, wrote in one of his books, “It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” He may have been referring to the deductions of Sherlock Holmes but he was absolutely correct: singing in the car and playing chess are only two very small things but they lead to infinitely important time spent loving, serving, laughing together and creating family memories. So here’s to many days, weeks and years for all of us spent doing “little things.” In the end, I think we will find, they were actually the biggest things.