Taking Time

My daughter has been teaching 5th grade math and science for the past five years. Each year she has invited me to visit her class on Veteran’s Day to speak to her students. I spent four years in the Air Force Intelligence Service and they seem to enjoy hearing stories about search and rescue and big jets and stuff. They also like asking me questions about Andrea when she was in the 5th grade. Personally, I think this is their favorite part. (I even bring a picture of her when she was 10. Always a big hit!)

For the last five years we have discussed how to show respect when they see someone in uniform. How to approach them; how to look them in the eye; shake their hand and say, “Thank You”. And, how good the serving veteran will feel when a soon-to-be young adult takes few seconds to touch their life.

And then I teach them all how to shake hands.

Earlier this week Andrea called me to tell me that a father (a serving Marine) of one of the teachers stopped by, in uniform, to take his daughter to lunch. As he was waiting in the lobby, the 5th graders who were on their way to lunch, saw him and asked, “Can we shake his hand like your dad taught us?”. So they did. When other kids saw what was happening, they lined up to do the same.

When they had finished, the Marine looked at Andrea and said, “That was one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me.”

I would have liked to have met this Marine to offer my thanks as well. I was honored to be a part it however remotely and I was proud that the kids remembered.

My dad used to tell us that it’s the little things that mean the most. If you take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves. So, whether it is saying thank you to a veteran; holding a door for a mother with small children or taking time to speak with someone in transition we all have time to take care of the little things.

Touching other lives is a pretty cool way to give meaning to our own.