When the winter months set in, often we stay in, spending more time on ourselves–watching television, surfing the Internet, or kids playing video games. Instead of idly passing the time, grab your family and focus on blessing some individuals I call the “necessary people” in your life.
Who are your necessary people? Many of them help you week in and week out. Let’s draw them out of the background and bring them to the forefront in our thinking. Then, brainstorm as a family something fun you can do to show them your love and appreciation. Valentines season is the perfect time to do this!
Survey your life for a moment. Who helps you get things done? Think through the following list. Perhaps you will want to even circle any of them that apply to your life.
When I think of my life, these are the necessary people that come to mind:
- The mail carrier
- The garbage men
- Our doctor, dentist, dental hygienist, and optometrist
- My son’s teachers, principal, coaches, school secretary, lunchroom workers, and athletic director
- Our pastor and church staff
- The grocery store clerk and bagger
- The local policemen, firefighters, and other first responders
- The barista at my favorite coffee shop
- My boss and coworkers
- Servicemen and women in the armed forces
I’m sure you can think of many more!
All of these people are necessary. They help me—and my family—to get life done. Consider some of the following ways for you to reach out and show them that you care and that you are grateful for the service they provide for you faithfully year after year.
Take inventory and choose just one person.
Using the list above, craft your own catalog of the necessary people in your life. But don’t let this exercise overwhelm you. You don’t have to do something for everyone on your list. Just pray about one person to begin with. If you have a husband or children or other family members living with you, gather their ideas and opinions as well. Then select one person—much like our family did with Mr. Brown—who will be the recipient of your love.
Be nosy and eavesdrop.
For the next couple times you are around your chosen necessary person, begin to be a little inquisitive. Ask questions. Take notice of the things they enjoy or the hobbies they have. Do they have a favorite candy bar? How about a soft drink you notice them chugging often? Is there a professional sports team or television show they are a fan of? Ask a few leading questions and also just be observant. Hopefully this will give you some ideas as you decide what you will do for them to show love.
Brainstorm and buy.
Once you have come up with a few ideas of what their interests are, begin to brainstorm what you might do. Will you put together a surprise day like we did for Mr. Brown? Will you send them on a fun outing that includes their favorite sports team or musical group? Will you leave them a basket full of goodies anonymously along with a hand-written note? Begin to craft your plan and purchase the needed items.
Detonate a love bomb.
It is a total blast (pun intended!) to catch your necessary person in the middle of doing what it is that they do best and detonate your “love bomb.” Take along your gift to your doctor or dentist appointment. Interrupt your favorite barista in the middle of the day. Set your gift basket on top of your garbage container for the garbage collector. Drop by the school to thank your child’s teacher or school administrative assistant. It will mean so much that you remembered them with this gift of love on a totally random and ordinary day.
Send a care package.
You can always use the postal service or another shipping company to deliver your love. This works especially well if you want to remain anonymous. And if you know a service man or service woman who is serving overseas, show your gratitude and appreciation for them by sending them a package of love. Be sure to check websites for all of the particulars about mailing a package to a member of the armed services.
Give the gift of words.
One of the most heartfelt gifts you can give someone is the gift of your words. While writing letters used to be a very common practice, today such an activity is scarce. So grab a note card or some stationery and pen a letter expressing your thoughts. It helps to be specific. Rather than just jotting down, “Thank you for all that you do,” recall a particular incident and mention it in your letter. Tell them what their actions meant to you. For example, you might write to the Little League coach, “I saw how you took the extra time to teach my son the proper way to slide into home plate after he failed to do it right and it cost our team a run. It meant so much to me that you didn’t yell at him for doing wrong, but instead, patiently showed him how to do it right next time. The world needs more caring and conscientious coaches like you!”
Create a domino effect.
Give a gift that keeps on giving. Purchase a platter. It can be either a brand-new one from the department store or a vintage one from a resale shop or second-hand store. Whip up some homemade granola bars or cookies or muffins. Deliver it to one of your necessary people, and attach a note that states that once they have enjoyed their goody, they are to choose a person in their life, pile the platter high with treats, and deliver it to them. Have them also include a note that tells that person to pass it on as well. I knew one such person who did this idea and about two years after they started the dominoes falling, the plate showed back up at their house! Maybe it is true that what goes around comes around.
Don’t forget to recruit the family to help!
Never underestimate the ability of family members, no matter how small or how old, to contribute to the mission of blessing others. Ask your small children for their ideas. Include grandma or grandpa. Make it a family affair. Including everyone adds a special touch of beauty as you get to view through their eyes who they find necessary in their life. You may even want to take turns letting a different person from the family choose someone to bless each month.
And most importantly—pray!
Don’t forget not just to show love tangibly and outwardly to the people in your life, but to remember them in prayer—both before you show them love and afterward. The most important gift you could ever give anyone is the gift of prayer. It not only helps them, it enables you to connect your heart to theirs when you petition God on their behalf, asking his greatest blessings over their life. Including the necessary people in your life on your prayer list will also help to grow your gratitude for them. So jot their names on your prayer list and leave them there!
Karen Ehman, KarenEhman.com