Hope In a Jar
The call went out from a dance studio in the suburbs of Nevada. It was on one of those crumpled pieces of paper that kids leave in their backpacks for a week and then tell you must be done by morning. “Dear Parents,” the note read. “Please have your dancer bring a small gift, under $10, for their big or little sister this weekend. Thank you. These gifts mean so much to the girls and are a bonding experience.”
At this dance studio, the teachers match older girls who are 13, 14 and 15 with younger girls 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 as big and little sisters. The job of the big sister is to look out for the little at competitions and especially out of town trips where things can get stressful. In turn, the little sister knows that someone has “got her back.” I love the concept!
A little gift could only make the day brighter, right?
Of course, there were beautiful gifts traded on this special weekend including friendship necklaces where you split them down the middle and each wears one half. There were countless earrings given and tiny bottles of fragrant almond shampoos and jasmine body washes. One girl brought the biggest bag of Twizzlers ever known to man or womankind.
In the end, my favorite gift cost under $1.
It was literally hope in a jar.
That’s because it was a small glass jar, no bigger than what you might find baby food in. The bottle had a big brown cork on top. Inside, it was crammed filled with little white slips of paper and writing done in the neatest possible way in a green marker. In deep pink marker on a small white sticker stuck onto the glass jar, the 10-year-old gift giver wrote: “You Inspire Me. I Hope I Can Inspire You, Too!” So simple, so profound.
The jar was crammed with one inspirational message a day for the next two weeks. Here are a few of them and many made me tear up as I wrote this blog.
Happiness is yours!
You are beautiful and talented.
Be Yourself. Everyone else is taken.
Life is too short to be anything but happy.
Your smile lights up the whole room.
Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening.
Believe you can and you’re halfway there.
Don’t do it tomorrow. Do it today.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible.”
One of the messages was from Oscar Wilder, another from Teddy Roosevelt and yet another from Audrey Hepburn. How amazing that there was a history lesson going on here, too. Above all, these were beautiful, inspiring, heart soaring messages for girls and boys, moms and dads and everyone else of every single age.
This made me think that the best gifts in life are often so simple, and pure in their intentions. I also love this “hope in a jar” as a birthday present, a surprise gift to give to a loved ones during holiday get togethers (like this weekend!) to let you know how special they are to you, and even a gift to your own mother on Mother’s Day.
Right now, I want to close my eyes, pull a scrap out of that jar and live that message today. Here goes……… A smile is the best makeup any girl could wear.
I’m smiling widely.