Oftentimes when we think of unforgettable moments, we think BIG events. Weddings, births, retirements, graduations, transitions and milestones. Major life events also include the ones we didn’t want to happen. Some unforgettable moments are painful ones, like the date and moment you were diagnosed with cancer or some other intractable illness. Or how about when you crashed the family car. Yet, the peaks and valleys, as noteworthy as they are, are often not the ones we talk about. When asked to recall the moments that matter most in our lives, they are often common place, with a twist.
This week a friend recommended the book, The Power of Moments, by Chip and Dan Heath, professors at Stanford and Duke respectively, and the authors of several books. You may have read or seen their popular book, Made to Stick.
I went on to recommend, The Power of Moments, to another friend and colleague, after reading 16 pages. Obviously, I was captivated from the beginning. Why? It is filled with stories, practical examples, and suggestions, about brief experiences that change our lives or jolt us out of our default assumptions. Furthermore, it is a reminder to create memorable and meaningful moments whether it is at work or home. The opportunities are endless, and their suggestions brilliant, innovative and kind.
I invite you to read this tiny true story from The Power of Moments that touched me deeply. It goes like this:
The hidden milkshake.A little girl is in the hospital and the doctors can’t quite figure out what’s wrong. She’s running a fever, and they are worried. She is on a diet of no solids and that means, every single morning, a bowl of cream of wheat on a tray. She cannot stand cream of wheat. Her father knows this. So on her second morning in the hospital he hustles into the room and from under his overcoat he pulls a large chocolate shake! “Trade ya,” he says. And on every morning she is in the hospital it goes like this. He eats her cream of wheat, and she drinks the shake. He leaves the empty bowl on the tray. Many years later, she can barely remember being in the hospital, or the many tests they conducted. But she can remember her father pulling that shake out from under his topcoat with a smile.
This story reminded me of when I was a child of 5 or 6, with a full blown case of measles. I have no memory whatsoever of the measles but what I do remember is this:
- an old fashioned rose bowl with a beautiful red rose floating on top of the water and placed on my night table.
- cool cloths routinely changed and placed on my forehead.
- the Golden Book of Poetry – a gift from my Mother – with beautiful illustrations and dozens of poems, many of which I still remember by heart, today.
- my Mother sitting on the edge of my bed reading one poem after another as I begged for more.
- cool treats like lime or cherry Popsicles, ice cream and sips of Canada Dry ginger ale, always served in a special dish or glass.
- the patchwork quilt made by our Gandmother and used on occasions like these to tuck me in.
- my sister and I making up stories using the various patches of material as a backdrop for our tall tales.
We all have defining moments in our lives. The liberating thing is that we don’t have to always wait for them to appear. We can become a “moment spotter,” one who notices the opportunities to make a moment special, for someone else. I love the notion of becoming a “moment spotter.” I want to be one of those people.
The research shows that the most precious moments in our lives, often cost the least. In other words, we get the opportunity everyday to make our own lives more meaningful by finding ways to make someone else’s moments unforgettable. Every day, fresh moments keep arriving. How lucky is that.
Note 1:) Thanks to my amazing, almost 99 year old Mother, for a lifetime of unforgettable moments. And to my Grandchildren for the extraordinary opportunity to participate in their everyday, special moments.
Note 2:) I recommend the Heath brothers book, The Power of Moments. Anyone who is interested in creating more memorable moments both at work and at home, will not be disappointed.
Note 3:) May you all have a few days of sunshine and warmth as the great Canadian North starts to thaw. (I am not referring to Vancouver and the Islands, where daffodils and cherry blossoms are now in bloom. Lucky ducks.) Thanks for taking time to read these posts and see you next week. Warm greetings, Trudy