The little big things. . .

This week I had a stark reminder about what’s important in this life; What’s truly worth our attention, our thoughts, our time.

My friend Amanda texted me on Sunday afternoon – telling me that she wouldn’t be able to come by the next day because she had been diagnosed with the flu at a local Urgent Care.  “Yikes! Feel better soon” was my response.  To which she said:  “Thank you! :)”

On Wednesday morning, Amanda crossed my mind:  “I should text her and see how she’s feeling”… but as sometimes happens in the hustle of my morning routine, I let the thought slip away without action.

Thursday morning I heard the shocking news.  Amanda passed away on Wednesday evening during transport from our small community hospital to a larger medical center.  She was a healthy 38 year old mother of four.  Her husband, who was following the ambulance in their family car, said goodbye to her on the side of a snowy back country road.

As I work to process this horrible week: “Is this real?”  “Amanda’s not really gone, right?” “How did this happen?”- I am realizing some ultimate truths that I vow to now keep ever present in my life.

It’s the little things in life that are actually the big things.

We have a tendency to give copious amounts of attention to certain parts of life (namely wealth, possessions, status, and power) that can actually be a distraction to our true work here on Earth (which I believe is simply to serve others so that you may leave more in this world than you received).  Today’s culture makes these big things in our lives by reinforcing the idea that without accumulating them, success cannot be achieved.

Consider, for a moment:  What would you like your legacy to be?  What is it about yourself that you would like to live on- long after your time here on Earth? For most, this legacy doesn’t include mention of possessions, wealth, status, or power.  It is not these that people long for more of in their final days.

Rather- it is life’s little things that are truly important:  connections with others, building relationships, quality time, spreading love. These are what matter at the end of the day.  Not having power, wealth, or prestige.  Not being the best, fastest, or strongest.

If we want to be the best at something this week, this year, in this life: let’s be best at the little, big things. Be the best parent. Spouse. Friend. Colleague. Teammate.  LOVE.  Be the best at that.

Doing the Little Things Best | In the Classroom

How can we intentionally focus on doing the little things best in our classrooms?

  1. Value process over product.  Shift your focus away from the products your students produce.  Focus less on the grades they earn and the assessment scores they acquire, and instead, place it on to the process of learning.  Then work to replace the traditional school norms and systems that tell students it is grades and not learning that is most important.
  2. Spend time with your students.  Get to know your students as learners, yes – but also as people.  Spend time with them in an effort to foster true, meaningful relationships.   Check out @lauriesmith1995 ‘s amazing reflection on relationship building and the idea of seizing each opportunity we have with our learners.
  3. Show students their value.  Help students see the value they bring to this world.  Provide learning opportunities that highlight your students’ strengths (not their weaknesses).  Authentically build their confidence by reminding them of their unique value and just how much they matter.
  4. Spread love.  Be a model of love and kindness, yes – but also help spread that love with intentional action.  Help students experience the joy that comes from spreading love to others by facilitating opportunities for them to do so.   Check out @lauriesmacintosh ‘s intentional focus on teaching her students how to love one another:TWEET3TWEET1



Amanda was intentional in her work here on Earth.  She looked me in the eyes when she talked to me.  She never rushed through our conversations.  She spent quality time building relationships.  She loved hard and served others relentlessly.

Amanda did life’s little, big things well & as a result, her legacy message is clear:

Love and serve others with intentional focus and you will find success.

5 thoughts on “The little big things. . .

  1. Wow…. I have no words… The hardest lessons are learned in the most trying times, but I truly believe it is what we do with the lesson and the legacy that is the most important! I learned to “Love to Live and Live to Love!” I am not perfect at it but try my best! Thank you for sharing this difficult story. It is a great reminder of how precious our time is… peace and comfort to you and Amanda’s family!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love every word of this. Loss has a way of stopping us in our tracks and forcing us to reflect on what we are doing with our time here. I lost a friend and colleague on Christmas Eve in a plane crash. She was also my son’s teacher last year. I returned to school in January with one intention: to show love to my students, especially “those kids,” the tough ones who need us most. Your words are a beautiful tribute to Amanda! Thank you for sharing your friend’s legacy with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been thinking about your comment lately – About how it often takes a loss to cause us to pause and reflect and bring things into perspective. Perhaps this ‘shouldn’t be’ and we should always be mindful – yes… But is we use these horrible moments (like yours and mine) as triggers to love deeply, then perhaps good has come from tragedy. Whether we ‘should’ need reminders or not, the outcome of loving others more is a testament and honor to our lost loved ones. One I’m happy to carry on. Thanks for sharing your story!


  3. Carolyn, belated condolences on your loss.

    Agree with all of the commentary in the blog. What was especially impactful to me was the reminder about leaving a legacy. Each one of us is going to leave one, the real question is whether we will do things consciously to influence that legacy or just float through life.


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