Wednesday, December 15, 2010

thoughts of happiness

i have two unrelated thoughts.  but both have made cry and smile.

i think i've written before about the girl i tutor as a volunteer at my local elementary.  last week she was in a terrible mood and did even less than she usually does during our session.  it was frustrating and i'm afraid i left in a huff and a bit rudely when our time was up.  so monday, when i went to tutor again i strained my brain for some way to make a connection with her.  i had taken her a sticker the day i got fed up and she was disinterested in it totally.  i couldn't take another sticker - i wasn't up for further rejection.  i finally decided that all kids like gum.  i took a stick of my favorite gum, not knowing for sure how or when i would give it to her.  for one thing it was boring silver paper wrapped kind of gum - nothing that would make a kid smile.  finally i had an epiphany - but really it was revelation.  really, i truly believe that the holy ghost prompted me in coming up with that solution.  i decided to tear the piece of gum in two and let her choose a half, all the while explaining that we needed to work on her math together - i couldn't do it without her and she couldn't do it without me - we had to share.  well, she took the gum and slowly did her part.  for all of about two minutes.  then her mother came to take her to a doctor's appointment.  well, this morning i was really dreading going in.  i was worried she wouldn't be happy.  i was worried that the gum idea wouldn't work a second time.  i was worried that i would come away feeling like a failure again - for really, that was the overall feeling last week, and that doesn't do a body any good.  i took a piece of gum, but i put it in my pocket, deciding i would pull it out when it felt right.  well, she came out with her workbook, sat down as happy as could be, and willingly and easily did everything.  she even smiled and kept trying when she got stuck.  she was excited to do her math.  she asked about a sticker, so i found the one i had given her last week (it was in her math bucket) and she put it on her hand.  (i just have to interject a funny thing about the sticker.  i don't own a lot of stickers.  when i got called to teach sunbeams at church i bought a bunch of little christian type stickers at the dollar store.  i found one that had a picture of a lamb on it and it said "love."  i figured that was not too religious and would pass for a school sticker.)  by the time i left she had laughed and made friendly conversation and had done her work and felt proud of her accomplishments and she told me she would miss me.  she even gave me a hug on my way out.  now i'm tempted to say it was the magic of the piece of gum.  they say when you break bread together you create bonds of friendship - maybe with a fifth grade girl breaking gum is just as effective.  really, i think she felt love.  i think she felt the spirit - the same one i felt when prompted to share a piece of gum and give a sticker that said "love."  the tutoring miracle of today far outshines the beautiful sunrise miracle of yesterday - but both were gifts from god.

okay, now in other news.  i've been discussing gift giving with a few people lately.  after all, tis the season, right?  in processing my mixed feelings of yesterday with bret he suggested i do some reading and pondering on service.  how can i have the right feelings in relation to service.  well, this evening i came across an excellent talk by president eyring, forwarded to bret from his father who got it from his sister.  i love being a part passing on such good talks.  maybe you'll enjoy it too.

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