Someone recently shared a personal story with me. It was a simple story of how one of her loved ones gave her a gift and how this gift made her feel.
I was very moved listening to this story. I was moved because of the simplicity and universality of it. Each of us has received and each of us has given. Each of us has known the profound feeling of bringing joy to someone we know and love; each of has felt the profound joy of receiving such love.
The gift in the story wasn’t a physical gift. It was shiny or expensive. It was the gift of time. Time is undoubtedly the most precious and powerful gift any of us has to offer.
I listened to this story as a husband, a father, a son, and a brother. I also listened as a colleague, school administrator, and educator. The message of the story cuts across personal and professional boundaries and is relevant in all areas.
Time is a gift that each of us can and should give freely, especially to those we value most. Rather than waiting for others to ask for our time, we should be mindful each day to give the gift of time. Rather than piling appointments right on top of one another, we should allow enough time to be present for the person in the room.
Time given to students and colleagues both affirms and strengthens relationships. It helps us recognize what really counts and what really matters. It allows others to express concerns and get at what’s really important, rather than rushing through an agenda or checklist. In many ways it’s the simplest gift we can give; a gift that enriches our lives as well.