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January 7, 2014

Kali Davies-Anderson: I can’t offer much in the way of money, but time will be my gift

NEW CASTLE — On Thursday evening at the age of 87, my husband’s grandfather passed away. 

I knew him only for a few years, and admittedly not that well, but what I knew OF him was much more grand.

From what I have heard and have witnessed he was one of the most generous people around. He gave his time, money and guidance to all of his family, neighbors and many friends.

He was a dedicated grandfather and some of my husband’s fondest memories of his childhood are those of time spent with him.

And isn’t that all that really matters?

It is easy to give money (if you have it) and material things. These involve very little effort on the behalf of the giver, and even in cases where the gifts are a great sacrifice for those giving, money is still easier to give than time.

I grew up in a household in which material items were hard to come by. We always had food, clothing and shelter, but not many luxuries.  But, as a child my greatest moments had nothing to do with toys, fancy cars or clothes. My fondest memories of my childhood have everything to do with time.

Sunday afternoons spent with my parents and sisters, Sunday evenings at my grandparents’ house, outings with friends and kickball games in the field behind my parents’ house are some things I truly value about my childhood.

I only vaguely remember not loving some of my outfits in school or being embarrassed by the mini-van that my parents drove (I had to climb through the trunk of because the doors stopped unlocking). I am not scarred by the lack of vacations we took or the off brand tennis shoes I probably wore.

I much preferred the games we played with my parents in our tiny living room and the hours spent catching lightning bugs at my grandparents’ house with my cousins.

When I decided that I wanted children I knew that I could probably never give them all of the material possessions that they would undoubtedly desire. I realized that maybe there would be times when we couldn’t go out to eat or take family vacations. But, I fully planned on being available to my children, emotionally and physically, and so far I think I am doing an OK job with that.

Sometimes, our work schedules and weekend activities and commitments seem to get in the way of our ability to offer ourselves to others, and I am no exception to this.

However, in this day and age with all of the technology available, time offered doesn’t even have to be in person. Sometimes it’s that e-mail or text message from a friend that lets us know that someone is thinking about us that makes all the difference in the world.

So, I know that in my previous blog I wrote that I was not resolving to change anything for the New Year, but I would like to revise that notion:

For the year 2014 (and every year after that) I am resolving to give more of myself and my time to the people in my life. This doesn’t mean I will run myself into the ground trying to help people. It simply means that if I have been thinking about someone, or worrying about them or am happy for them, I will let them know it. It means that if someone seems to be in a predicament and they need help, I will help them as best I can. This includes my children and husband, because they often need more from me than others.

Wilbur Anderson set an example to his family and friends that time is of immeasurable value and he will be very missed.

I hope that someday the same can be said about me.

 

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