I chuckle at the way we define ourselves in this world. We often feel obligated to answer key questions about our career, our marital status, our future plans, or our investments as if proving ourselves to someone. I enjoy listening to conversations in malls, on trains, in offices…there’s that old joke about “be careful or you will end up in my novel.” But I listen to people as they get to know each other. There are “significant things” people want to know depending upon the person. Where are you from? What religion do you practice? Where did you graduate from? How long have you worked there? Who’s your broker? Have you volunteered there long?
But I like to look deeper. The “insignificant” things make us unique and really define who we are. Take my children, for instance. I can answer the “significant” things about each one of the. Yes, my children make good grades, play musical instruments, perform in theater performances, have a strong faith, and are really good kids overall. I feel confident that they will be prepared for the future, whatever that holds. I know that education and strong roots are important. But I love the little things about them that you see only when you really get to know them, the things that others may see as insignificant.
My daughter refuses to let people make negative comments about others. She reminds those near her not to gossip, but to always find the positive in a person. My son sees the small things in life. He can find a ladybug or a tiny flower that I overlooked. He sees the rays of the sun before I do. Both children enjoy a good conversation. They both love mismatched socks. They draw hearts on their hands. They like cheese melted on saltine crackers. They fall asleep to music. Both like history. One eats peanut butter on a spoon. One will only eat cheese pizza. One can’t whistle. One can't jump. Only loves to rescue animals. They both tell me they love me every day.
Writer’s challenge: Create a character for a short story based only on “insignificant” aspects of life. Don’t identify a career or a school major or financial status. Try to write at from 500 to 1000 words about this character using only small details of life.
Journaling challenge: Write about two special people in your life. List things that others may not know about them...things that make them unique and that you love about them.