Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Cycle of Giving and Receiving

I'm not really one for New Year's Resolutions; I tend to make more short-term resolutions or intention statements all along the year.  However, I do have one for this year:  Take More Baths!  However, this isn't really a statement about my personal hygiene....

I'm thrilled to say that in the four months that I've been doing this blog, I've had 3,153 page views, including visitors from dozens of countries from every continent in the world except Antarctica.  I don't know who all my readers are, but I'm assuming that most of you all are parents and/or teachers.  And parents and teachers are some of the biggest givers in the world.  That's not to say that they don't get a lot out of parenting and teaching; I'm sure those activities are up there in the top five list of the most important and significant and rewarding aspects of their lives.  But both teaching and parenting involve putting your heart, body, and soul into serving others so that their children and/or students can have full, enriching lives.

The thing about big givers is that they often need to be reminded to allow others to give to them as well.  It's not that it is OK for givers to receive sometimes--actually, it is a necessity that they do.  If they don't, if they never recharge their own batteries or refill their own stores of energy and spiritual nourishment, they can't keep on giving.  And if they never allow those around them, particularly their children and students, to give to them, they are depriving those other people of the opportunity to learn to become givers as well.

For me, this lesson came this week from taking a bath.   Usually, I never take baths, even though I enjoy them.  Why not?  Why, they take too much time, of course.  Why spend 20 or 30 minutes in the bathtub when I can get the job done in 5 minutes by showering?

But this year, the people around me were sending me a message.  One friend gave me a special candle for taking a bath.  Another gave me a lovely bottle of wine, and yet another some rich dark chocolate.  Best of all, however, were some friends who worked with my son to give me a handmade gift--which turned out to be some peppermint bath salts and an organic oatmeal facial mask.

So I was rushing around earlier this week, trying to get ready for our trip up to Washington DC, when I realized I needed to wash my hair that night instead of taking time in the morning for a shower.  But I was also cleaning up, and happened to pick up the jar of bath salts from my son.  I realized that a nice bath would help relax me and my body before having to drive for many hours tomorrow on roads that would be packed with both other cars and with snow (on the sides).  Could I actually spend the time on a bath with so many pre-trip chores to get done?  When I first mentioned that I was thinking about taking a bath, my son looked surprised, and then said "Thank you."  I realized that he didn't really think I would ever use his bath salts, and that it made him feel good for me to actually take advantage of his gift.

My husband offered to wash the dishes and clean up from dinner, and my son said he would pack his own clothes.  So I thought, Why not?  I gathered all my gifts, ran a bath, poured in the bath salts, mixed up the oatmeal facial and applied it to my skin, and slid into the warm water.  I lit my candle, sipped a little wine, ate a little chocolate, and enjoyed both my muscles relaxing in the warm water and my soul reveling in a few minutes of peace after the exhilaration of the holiday season.

When I emerged from the bathroom maybe 45 minutes later, I was clean and rested and much better prepared to face the stress of a day of driving in heavy highway traffic.  And my skin!  I couldn't believe it!  I've always had really dry skin, but my face felt smooth and moisturized like it hasn't felt in a very long time.  (And it turned out that it stayed moisturized all through my trip to DC.)

So I realized that it was crazy of me to think that I could spend the time to have a bath at least every week or so.  It's something that is cheap, relatively quick, and good for both my body and my soul.  And if I don't take care of myself, I can't take care of anyone else either.

So for all you other givers out there--I hope you find something that allows others to give to you (even if it is just leaving you alone for a short while) and make that part of your routine this year.  For me, that was the "other thing" I mentioned in yesterday's post--I spent a portion of my New Year's Eve in the bathtub, so I expect to be doing a lot of bathing in the coming year.

And speaking of giving... it is time to give away the curriculum package from Hands of a Child.

I used a Random Number Generator application from to pick the winner, and it came up with entrant #10.  And the lucky person #10 was Amy!  Congratulations, Amy--let us know what you end up getting.

I'm sorry that I don't have something for everyone who entered, but I enjoyed this, so maybe I'll do some other contests this year. And you might want to sign up for the HOAC newsletter, because when they do get to their 400th curriculum package (which is supposed to be soon), they will be doing some great giveaways, including a free Super Membership (2 free ebooks each month PLUS 15% off every purchase--a $65 value), a free Custom Unit (you tell them the subject and the grade level, and they will produce a curriculum on exactly the topic you want--a $75 value), and a free LIFETIME Super Membership (a $275 value).  Somebody is going to maybe it will be you!

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