I was on a plane the other day and happened to read something that resonated with me…
“Remember when you go into the world to keep your eyes and ears wide open and be kind. Love one another. Take care of each other. Tell the truth and always do your best. Listen to the big people and the little people. Explore new paths and have fun. Know that you are loved like crazy. Give thanks for all your blessings. Above all else, love and you will do wonderful things in this world.”
-Poet Rebecca Puig
I got a lot out of that poem.
As simple and repetitive all of that life advice is, it’s also equally as divinely powerful when we actually pay attention. For me, the part that made me re-read it twice, then turn and look out the airplane window at the golden cloud sunset over California as I thought about it, was this: “Listen to the big people and the little people.”
I thought of my kids, of course. I always asked them to listen to me, but did I listen to them enough?
So, last weekend, I took my kids out for breakfast – for the second week in a row.
I know, I know…that doesn’t exactly put me in the running for Father of the Year.
But what we did was different this time.
“Explore new paths and have fun.”
I loaded them up on my bicycle in the carrier behind my seat and pedaled them down the bike path to the same restaurant they liked the week before. What was different this time was that I pedaled the whole way, 5 miles each way. It was nice, listening to the kids chatter the back, being fully in the moment and thankful as the morning breeze greeted us.
“Give thanks for all your blessings.”
Once we got to the restaurant, we dismounted, went in, and sat in our new favorite booth,
We had breakfast. They colored (gladly sharing the one crayon available). We hung out and we had fun.
No iPad; no iPhone, no TV.
Just us, talking and with one another. I asked them what they thought about many things.
“Remember when you go into the world to keep your eyes and ears wide open and be kind.”
It occurred to me that I was listening to the small people in my life. We can all truly learn from children because they are so pure. It’s all about the relationship between you and them; no agenda, just trust and care.
“Know that you are loved like crazy.”
On the way back it was mostly up hill, with 80 pounds of children as my cargo and a stack of pancakes in my belly. If that wasn’t challenging enough, I was pedaling against a good headwind the whole time.
The whole time, they’re on the back there, laughing and asking if I need to take a break (really busting my chops as only my kids can). I looked back at them while riding up one particularly difficult part of the hill and said, “Dickers don’t quit!”
When we got home, Brandi asked me “How’d it go?”
“Great!” I said. And Roen immediately chimed in, “Mommy, Dicker’s don’t quit!” Lesson clearly learned.
“Tell the truth and always do your best.”
Look, life is short. Take the time. Understand what’s truly important. Be the best you can be, both to your family and loved ones, but also to yourself – just like I read in a poem on a plane.
“Above all else, love and you will do wonderful things in this world.”