Making the Most of Moments
I’ve heard it said that we don’t remember days, we remember moments. As I think back over my own life I believe that’s true. The good news is moments take less time than elaborate events and time is a commodity most of us have in short supply. Most moments that mean much to us simply evolve spontaneously. But as we build a life of value, embracing the moments when they happen means a great deal.
I remember one significant moment in my life that didn’t even involve a single word. My youngest daughter, Kelsey endured two long battles with cancer. During her second battle in her teen years while I drove her to the hospital for treatments, I knew she was uptight about all that would transpire, though she never would verbalize her fears.
I fell into the habit of putting my hand on her knee as we drove to the hospital. One time as we drove there I was lost in my own silent thoughts of dread and I didn’t put my hand on her knee. After a while she quietly picked up my hand and placed it on her knee. No words at all. But we were then connected. She was telling me she was scared but didn’t want to talk about it. She was telling me that she needed me present with her. It was a moment I will never forget.
Another lighter moment happened in my classroom as I was preparing my teen students to go on a trip out-of-town for an educational conference. I spoke to them seriously about our upcoming stay in a hotel. No one was ever to be in the hotel hallway alone.
“Even if you are just going for a bucket of ice, you must have a partner with you,” I warned. “Never talk to strangers or enter the room of someone you’ve just met no matter how nice they seem.” I continued sternly. The atmosphere was very sober as I wanted it to be.
At precisely that moment there was a knock on my classroom door. A man wearing the uniform of the technology department whom I had never seen before, was looking for the room which housed the media brain of our building. That particular door is somewhat hidden. You must pass through another room that has no posted room number in order to find it. I tried to describe the process to him, but he was still confused. I stepped outside my classroom, walked a few feet down the hall, opened the unmarked door and escorted him inside to point out the door he was trying to find. I was back in my classroom in seconds.
One of my female students with a gleam in her eye said, “Excuse me, Mrs. Easley. Didn’t we just see you leave your friends and go into a room with a strange man who you didn’t even know?” I tried to stay serious but the whole classroom dissolved into laughter. What followed was an out-and-out giggle fit that went on and on. Every time I tried to get the class back on track someone would start laughing again, usually me.
It was a spontaneous moment that none of us will ever forget. I’m sure long after I’m dead and buried if those students get together to talk about old times, one of them will say, “Do you remember the time Mrs. Easley left the class and went off with a strange man?” And they’ll laugh again.
What makes me proud? I was “present” in those moments. I connected with Kelsey’s message when she needed me. And I collapsed in laughter when that was the only response needed. I embraced the moments. That’s why those moments will live forever.
This is an excerpt taken from my upcoming book: Teach To Change Lives