Save the Best for ….Now!
I’m a collector, a saver, a cataloger, a miser, an archivist, a curator and a steward of stuff. Notice that I made no reference to being a hoarder. Not even close. However, I save stuff for rainy days, a future size, hope that styles return, the next curbside collection, etc. I save for that number one student, favorite teacher, potential goodie bags, Teacher Appreciation giveaways, etc. In other words, I hold on to things with the intention of giving or rewarding them to me or others and as result, often forget what I have, where it’s located, who it was intended for or where I got it in the first place. This summer I was able to devote many hours to major re-organization of the stuff and ended up realizing I spend an awful lot of time on it! So with some radical purging, several bags of clothes went to the Salvation Army and countless school items landed on the free carts in the Media Center. Blessed were the teachers and others who happened to be there that day!
So as I basked in the glow of being semi-clutter free, a scary thought came. What if it creeps back in? After attending a district vendor fair, I toted bags of freebies with the plan to redistribute the wealth to my teachers at my school. But there it sits, in my office, rolls of posters, bookmarks, buttons, highlighters, etc. Maybe even a stray mint or 2! And with plans to attend our state Media Conference this month, I’m already swooning at the swag that will make it back to my car and beyond. And then what? What am I saving it for? Why not just walk in my first day back, freely strewing freebies to anyone within reach. “Pens for everyone!” “Who needs a Love My Librarian Lanyard?” “How about a highlighter, kid?” What am I saving it for when I could make someone’s day right now?
One of my heroes in the writing world is Erma Bombeck. Her humor and insight into the human condition is brilliant. In her heyday, mid-1960’s through the 1990’s, she wrote numerous bestsellers and over 4,000 newspaper columns. Many were the days I’d call my mom to see if she ready Erma that day and we’d nearly wet our pants laughing together over them. But she also wrote a bittersweet column “If I Had My Life to Live Over ” after discovering that she was dying of cancer. That column provides just the antidote for my ridiculous collections for “someday”. One of her observations, “I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored”, really resonated. Why am I saving the best for last? Who is it really for? What’s the harm in giving that stuff away now…for anyone who wants it? In fact, it’s often the very people who we don’t think deserve it, who actually need it or would appreciate it now. “No, these 3-D bookmarks should be for student X”. “Mrs. Y would love this cloth-y cat bag from a vendor”. “These posters would be perfect in Mr. Z’s class”. And all the while X, Y, and Z move on and you still have the stuff! And more besides.
So just for today, I’m going to sort one more bin, or shelf or cabinet and boldly go where this librarian has not gone before…straight to the teacher giveaway cart or freebie student basket to hand out when they check out their books. Why? Just because! I don’t have the room, tubs, or energy to keep saving the best for last. I’m saving it for now….and then passing it on! Go ahead, make somone’s day and give them the best of what you have now. If you’re not the archivist that I am, you might not have the stuff I have. So how about your best smile, listening ear, compliment, hug, lesson, effort? Your best 5 minutes to encourage? Your best planning time to spend with a struggling colleague? Your best lunch to share with a student? Most of our “bests” don’t cost a thing…yet are priceless to the recipient.
It's time to save the best for now! One more step to help you stay Grounded!