My mother and my grandmother were from an era which seems almost quaint in its emphases.
Being kind, dutiful, and ladylike or gentlemanly were attributes cultivated, and then nurtured in one's children - ahead of "getting ahead."
When I was growing up, whenever I left our house, I heard, "Have a nice time."And "Do well." When I came home, I was praised if I had performed well at church, school, and other activities. It was not empty, meaningless commendation. I thought that doing my best at all times was
Sometimes I was embarrassed at my mother's telling her friends about my grades and accomplishments. Maybe part of Mother's pride, however, was the same kind of healthy pride she showed when her grade school pupils did well with what was expected of them.
I cringed when a friend told me her parents asked, "Why don't you (fill in the blank) like Nancy Springer?" Being held up as an example wasn't what I was striving for.
But now, I have been wondering what kind of person I would have become without the expectations and encouragements given me. I can't imagine what it must be like to grow up, not being acknowledged, praised, reminded.
Yesterday I spoke with a friend, a warm, intelligent, very capable woman who was our high school class valedictorian. She said that she grew up knowing exactly what it is like, not to receive kind words at home, of the type which nurtured me.
I wonder what I would have done if given the same set of circumstances as hers. God knows exactly what each of us needs to begin to fulfill the purposes He has for us. He has equipped us accordingly, and set our circumstances.
Now I may long to do some great and lasting thing...something of value to this world before I go on to the next. At the same time, I can overlook the simple kindnesses and interaction with friends and family that increases their sense of worth and happiness.
I pray, "Lord, help me to do 'the little things' with the same eager sense of doing Your will and serving You well, as when I do 'bigger things' which may be noticed and applauded now."
- Nancy Spiegelberg
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
Proverbs 16:24 NKJV