When I was in Vancouver last week, I chatted with a co-worker about what we could bring home to our kids as a souvenir. I brainstormed Crumbl Cookies or Voodoo Doughnuts. But then one of our speakers, Aaron Draplin, passed out sticker samples of his work. These will do, we thought.
I then told her a story about when I was a child. I recalled that when my dad would go on business trips, he would bring back a couple bars of soap from the hotel he stayed at. When he would present them to us, we would marvel at the “exotic” soap from a distant town wrapped in hotel-branded packaging. We thought it was awesome!
Both the stickers and soap are examples of souvenirs that cost nothing. Despite their low monetary investment, both items still showed thought and were appreciated by the youthful recipients. I have one additional recent example…
Sid and I visited Missoula this past weekend. After the Griz football game on Saturday afternoon, we found ourselves inside the Adams Center. Right outside my old office was a table with Griz Cheerleading posters. We thought of Sloan and grabbed one of the free posters along with a couple of the maroon “You’re In Griz Country” cheer cards. We stuffed them in our bag and went about our day.
We returned to Spokane on Sunday afternoon and gave Sloan her poster later that night, right before she went to sleep. If only you could have seen her face light up. It was like it was 1996 and she had unwrapped a Tickle Me Elmo. To see those cheerleaders and Monte smiling back at her really made her evening. Before she turned off her lights, the poster was hanging on her wall.
So what is the point of this? That cheap souvenirs are the best souvenirs? While this can sometimes be the case and I certainly don’t mind when it works out, I am focusing on something different. What warms my heart is the genuine appreciation that children display. It isn’t about the expense of the item but rather just the fact that they were remembered.
As we go about our lives on a daily basis, let’s remember the appreciation and gratefulness of children. We need to apply and express it ourselves. Not only will we better recognize the smaller efforts of others but it will make us happier people as well. Don’t Blink.