What a great lesson for us all to remember.
PS- the T.O.Y means thinking outside yourself
Thursday 11-20-2008 11:50am ET
Dear Tommy and Brook...
I wanted to send off an email about my own T.O.Y experience this morning. (I had meant to do it earlier, but had an 8am meeting and couldn’t get to it until now).
Anyway…my day started out as usual…yelling at the kids to hurry up and get ready for school because we were running late and I had an 8am meeting that I absolutely had to be at. It’s a new job and I’m still learning a ton of things, and being late is not a good thing.
So, we were running out to the car, grabbing boots, jackets, and lunches as I go. I couldn’t find many of my 5 year old’s things. I asked her and she said they were in the van. Ok – she sat in the backseat and I didn’t think about it when I picked her up from daycare late last night.
As we’re driving down the road I’m asking my 12 year old sitting in the backseat to find her sister’s snow pants, gloves and hat. My 12 year old daughter started freaking out because she couldn’t find them anywhere and since we were already running late, I couldn’t turn around to head home to look for them – if they were even there.
I asked my 5 year old where they were. She said she couldn’t remember, but that they were probably still at school. She started crying, and as any mom knows – that’s upsetting.
So here I am blowing down 131 towards school, running late and my child is going to go to school without her snow pants, gloves or hat. I was very agitated because these are all brand new purchases. We recently moved to MI and so we had to outfit our little one with all the appropriate warm weather gear which means hat, gloves, snow pants, boots and jacket – preferably multiple sets of each.
Just this past weekend I had to purchase another set of hat and gloves because the previously sets were too small and not "waterproof", which the school recommends. It took us multiple trips to the store and finally found just the right items and they matched the new jacket and pants perfectly. My daughter was so excited she called Grandma to tell her about the new hat and gloves and even wore them to bed Saturday and Sunday night. They were her new prized possession.
Here we are on Tuesday morning and the new beloved items are nowhere to be found. I could not believe all the wasted time and money…and here they were already lost. This was going to be a very long winter!
I was determined to march in to the school and figure out why they let this child of mine leave school the day before without her things. I didn’t have time to take this march, but I was going to make the time. Luckily we always carry extra hats and gloves in the car for emergencies so I knew that even if I couldn’t find them, my child wouldn’t be cold….she wouldn’t have what was recommended, but she’d be ok.
We pull up to school and I get out of the car with the kids – practically dragging them across the parking lot because I have less than 20 minutes to find the missing items, and get to work for my 8am meeting.
I barely made it in the front door when the principal saw me and said, "I’m so glad you came in today – can I see you and Sara in my office for a minute?"
It’s never a good start to the day when you get called in to the principal’s office first thing and unexpectedly.
We walk inside and there’s a mom’s sitting at the desk in tears holding what looked like Sara’s new snow pants, gloves and hat. I looked at the principal as she closed the door and told me how my daughter gave her things to a classmate yesterday who didn’t have these things and was too cold to play outside. Many of the recesses she spent inside and my daughter felt bad for her and wanted her to go outside and play…my daughter gave her her things and then stayed inside. Then after recess Sara told her to keep the things because her mommy has more at home and she could just use those.
Ok – so now the principal and I are tearing up as my daughter is thinking I’m going to get mad at her.
The other mom tried to hand me back the items and say thank you. I told her that it was ok if she kept them…it was true that we had more at home and Sara obviously wanted to share with her new friend…so no worries. It took some convincing, but eventually the mom left to bring them to the room for her daughter.
I just leaned down and scooped up my daughter to say thank you to her for reminding me the true spirit of friendship...it’s giving away your new favorite gloves when your friend has none and you have more.
I felt so selfish and out of touch. I am so proud of my daughter for thinking outside herself!
For doing the TOY.
Then I practically cried myself all the way to work (late for the meeting I no longer cared about)…with pride for my daughter and embarrassment for myself.
I don’t think I’ll soon forget today’s lessons.