I suffered panic attacks when my mother-in-law came to visit.
She was a perfect housekeeper and I wasn’t. Of course she had only had ONE child, and I had seven.
I’d always put my kid’s emotional needs first. The house could wait. But she never quite understood that, and I could always feel her judging me for it.
One day, in a moment of inspiration, this came to me:
Around Halloween that year I gave a talk to a Middle School youth group.
I told them about my predicament and showed them the joke.
I asked, “I wonder if we died today, what people would remember about us?”
I showed several cardboard tombstone ‘cutouts’ with sayings on them:
“He was Good at Video Games “
“She had lots of friends”
“She was Pretty”
“He was Tough”
Then I showed them a photo of a beautiful young lady and asked if they knew her. They all said they didn’t know.
“Actually you do know her,” and I revealed it was Wilda, the elderly receptionist in the front office.
They were shocked.
One girl said,
“I LOVE WILDA! But I never knew she was so pretty once!”
So I asked. “Why do you like Wilda so much?”
“Because she’s so nice.”
The other kids agreed.
Next, holding up a blank tombstone, I said,
“Maybe it’s a good idea to think of the end from the beginning.
What do you want people to remember about YOU after you are gone?”
They all got the message – that externals don’t last.
But that’s not the most important part.
The kids appreciated Wilda a lot more the next time they went to the office.
A few years later she went home to be with her Lord.
But she left a mark on all who knew her:
She showed us that LIFE IS PRECIOUS.
WHY? Because she made us feel we were.
You never know when we will be ushered into eternity.
I like what John Jolliffe said:
“The way you feel about yourself is both your punishment and your reward. YOUR job is to become the kind of person YOU can love.”
I’m doing the best I can before I ‘croak!’
PS – Incidentally – if you know someone who loves art – there’s still time to get a complimentary copy of “SEE WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING AT!” my Art Textbook for Children. Just fill out the form on this page: http://www.edudesigns.org/blog/artbook/
I appreciate it so much!