We just returned from a fabulous week-long trip to Virginia. If you ever want to walk on the wild side, travel with four children. This was our third trip to Virginia in two years. Within those two years, we spent time in Washington DC, Maryland New York and Pennsylvania. The fantastic4 and their marvelous mom are making our way across the USA.
I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago and she reminded me of a conversation we had a few years ago about folding towels. We were having a GNO (Girls Night Out) and some how we started talking about towels. As I remember, each lady had a specific way to fold towels. Now, if you think about it, you probably do as well. One of the ladies was adamant that her teenage son fold the towels the right way. If he didn’t, she would get upset and frustrated. This frustration would lead her to refolding all the towels and fussing at him. Another friend had a young daughter at the time. We talked about how the mom wanted the towels folded the right way so she did the laundry herself.
Here is my take. I taught my kids to fold clothes, including towels, as soon as they could walk. The towels might end up in a ball but I praised them and thanked them and added it to the stack of other wadded up towels. As they got older and their coordination was better, they folded the towels better. I still offered the same praise. Yes, I put the towels away just as they folded them. The lesson was three-fold for me. I wanted them to learn to do laundry, I wanted them to know that what they did was good enough and most importantly, I wanted to building a relationship with them. As they grew, the expectation grew for them to not ball the towel but try to fold the towel. Was it perfect? Absolutely not! But I wasn’t looking for perfection.
Back to my story. The mom of the younger child got it immediately. She told me a few weeks ago that she still remembers the conversation and it changed how she approaches everyday tasks with her daughter. It’s not about the towel.
What’s the point of this story? Don’t allow the small things in life to stifle your relationships. It’s just a towel and at the end of the day, what difference does it make? Do you want to be known as the person with a linen closet full of perfectly folded towels or the person who had lifelong, life giving, and loving relationships?
As a side note, the fantastic4 were in a Christmas play last year. In one scene, the three youngest were part of a group of people going about every day life. Number 3, little dude from upstairs, was folding some sort of cloth in this scene. I laughed when I saw him folding it with care and like a pro.
No, I’ve never walked a mile in your shoes
I would like to walk the next mile or two with you
I want to see what you see
Hear what you hear
Listen to you speak
Learn what makes you laugh
Wipe your tears when you cry
I want to walk a mile with you
I’ll have to do it in my own shoes
Other wise your journey is not unique
Your shoes were custom-made
It’s your journey but I’m here
Lean on me when you are tired
Hold my hand when you need comfort
I want to walk a mile or two with you
One of my friends decided to write a response to my post The Misunderstood and Underestimated. I encourage you to respond, discuss or contemplate as well. I will post your responses to my blog or you can be a guest blogger with your own topic as long as you practice responsiblity and respect. This evening, our guest blogger is a new friend but has quickly become a dear friend.
I present to you Ms. Abiquail. (insert canned applause)
Objects are defined by their usefulness. Shovels are used to scoop, ovens to bake and flashlights to illuminate. We structure every item in our lives by what it is used to do. But what happens when an object is warped for a new purpose? The author of this blog recently posed an interesting question about one such repurposed implement, the wire hanger. She sought to understand the “stigma surrounding wire hangers.”
I think the stigma comes from what people use wire hangers to do.
Wire hangers are used to beat, to torture, to steal and to break. They are twisted from their original form and utilized to cause pain. People rarely conjure positive associations with them; after the author revealed the subject matter of her latest blog my first thought was of the hanger scene in Mommie Dearest (1981)! Although fashioned for an innocent purpose, wire hangers are manipulated into something they were never intended to be.
We are also defined by our purpose. Some instruct, some counsel, some create, some conquer and some make others laugh. Each of us has been designed with gifts we are to use to affect those whose lives we touch. But what happens when we allow those gifts to be manipulated by our selfish desires and the desires of others? Much like wire hangers, what we are created to be can turn into an implement for pain and destruction. And if we do not consciously use our talents to improve the lives of others, we will reap a similarly unfavorable stigma. Are you walking in your purpose, or are you allowing your gifts to be warped and used as something for which they were not intended? Are you a wire hanger?
Bravo Abiquail, bravo. Let’s talk later about this scary image you have of wire hangers. Much love and admiration,
Why is there a stigma surrounding wire hangers? I mean really? What have they done? Who did they hurt? I can’t understand why people have this thing against wire hangers. So we buy plastic hangers. We buy plastic hangers that are not biodegradable. You would never put a marshmallow or hot dog on the end of a plastic hanger to roast over and open fire. You can’t use a plastic hanger to make a cool wreath. You can’t use a plastic hanger to stick in the antennae once the original one breaks in half. You can’t even use a plastic hanger to jimmy the lock on your car door it you lock yourself out.
I see wire hangers as a sign of wealth. In order to acquire wire hangers, you need to take your clothes to the cleaners. Who can afford to take clothes to the cleaners? Who buys clothes that need to go to the cleaners? We are a wash and wear society. I for one refuse to buy more plastic hangers. I will no longer throw away or hide my wire hangers out of shame. I will use my wire hangers and use them proudly.