There’s a laminated paper tree taped on the mailroom window at work. It’s put up at the beginning of November and waits for the leaves of thanks from employees. The leaves are paper too yet they’re important because they bare the thankfulness of people.
Friday, there were a lot of leaves on the tree, and I took the time to read a few leaves. Maybe it was my literary snootiness rearing its ugly head. I was horribly disappointed by the mundane things written on the leaves.
When I wrote my leaf, I wrote down something I was thankful for and I tried to make it inspirational. On the leaf, I wrote:
I’m thankful for the little surprises. They’re just as important as the big ones.
I put my name on it, because I thought it was truly something that deserved my name. If it was something boring, I wouldn’t have bothered. Everyone else wrote their thankfulness for their families, their workplace, their general happiness, etc.
These things are worthy of thanks. Why not put more thought into their thanks? They could make their thanks poetic or write a few lines of a thankful story. I didn’t realize my perspective was jaded until Saturday.
It’s incredibly easy to fall into the abyss of jadedness. The media pipped into, disbursed onto, and downloaded into homes are filled with stories and images of hardships, violence. It’s easy to imagine the world as precariously balanced over a vat of acid.
When I watch The Rachel Maddow Show, she laughs at the absurdity of congress and the bullishness of certain state governments. Perhaps she laughs because she would otherwise cry at the helplessness her and most Americans must be feeling. Maybe she’s able to hold it together because she finds little things that give her hope.
Most of Rachel’s shows end with The Best New Thing in the World. The stories are heartwarming or funny. Her best new things always leave me smiling when the show ends.
Saturday’s best new thing wasn’t something small. It was actually really big.
Miles Scott is a 5-year-old who’s cancer is in remission. The bad news is he had to fight cancer at an early age. The good news is the cancer is in remission. The great news is he received his ultimate wish…to be a hero like Batman.
Miles was able to fulfill his wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the city and volunteers who stepped forward to help. He was diagnosed three years ago, underwent chemotherapy treatment and is now in remission.
Batkid had a police escort worthy of a dignitary as he sped around the city in a black Lamborghini with a Batman decal, with officers blocking traffic and riding alongside him on motorcycles. The White House sent out a tweet encouraging Batkid to “Go get ’em!” In a video recording, President Barack Obama said, “Way to go, Miles! Way to save Gotham!”
This kid wanted to be a hero. It wasn’t a soundstage in Hollywood, an airplane hanger made to look like a city, or a revamped ghost town. The city of San Francisco turned itself into Gotham City for the day so a little boy could run around and be a hero.
The willingness of a city to do this for a 5-year-old impressed me. The thousands of people who cheered Batkid as he ran through the city floored me.
While people cheered on Batkid in person, more cheered him on through the internet. The story was so popular on the Make a Wish website crashed.
One little wish turned into something big and it reminded me of all the little things that gave me thanks.
Some of them happened recently.
Perhaps I wasn’t paying attention when I wrote on that leaf. Maybe I was so stuck in sticky negativity that I needed to be reminded: It’s the little things that count.
I’m sure some of my Facebook friends and blog readers think a high school newspaper isn’t a big deal. When a person is asked to interview for one, they consider less of a big deal.
Earlier this week, a student came in and asked if he could interview me for an article. The interview didn’t involve him asking me questions as I answered them. Actually, he gave me a list of typed questions for me to answer and he would pick up my answers the next day.
Maybe some wouldn’t put much effort into answering the questions. They would write them down the first thing that came to mind and hand them back.
I put thought into my answers. It was important to me and, likely, important to the student reporter. I typed up my answers, had my editor (mom) look them over for suggestions, and included an example of an abstract I created for editorial consideration.
When I handed back his questions with my little packet stapled to it, he seemed happy.
The reason I worked hard on those answers for the student reporter centers around inspiration. If they are inspired by me, even a little, it would make me happy. That’s the reason I’ve stayed at the school for three and a half years. I wish to inspire the students, to help with the success of their futures.
I also want them to feel important. Another lesson on little things I’ve learned this week, is it doesn’t take much to make a student feel important.
The library orders the local paper for patron and teacher use. Study hall teachers send students to pick up papers for their students who want to do anything but study in study hall.
I’ve memorized most of the students sent by study hall teachers. There was one I had trouble remembering yet I eventually did. One day, his study hall teacher picked up the papers in person because she had other business in the library.
We talked about the kid she sends down. He told her I eventually remembered him. Then she told me something I momentarily forgot. The teacher said remembering him meant a lot to the student.
It’s something so small on my part, recognizing the student who came from a certain study hall teacher to pick up a set number of papers. Yet, it makes him happy. I’ll never know the deeper reason why remembering him makes him so happy. It doesn’t matter. I’m happy that something so little means so much to him.