Growing up, I often heard older people say, “Give me my flowers while I can still smell them.” Many times, this was said after they had attended a funeral and left the funeral wondering whether the deceased had been told before he/she died all of the wonderful things that were said at the funeral.
This past weekend I saw a great example of flowers being given to a person while she was still alive to smell them, and that quote from the older people came alive for me like it never has before.
I traveled to Greenville, SC to attend a recognition brunch for my college suite mate, Dr. Idella Glenn who has spent more than 23 years working in higher education, with the last 18 years at Furman University. She is leaving her role as Assistant Vice President for Student Development to begin a new position at Virginia Commonwealth University.
As I sat and listened to all of the accolades that were bestowed upon Idella, it was obvious that she has lived and left an amazing legacy. Speaker after speaker raved about the impact she has had on their lives. Tears began flowing during the welcome and continued throughout the entire program. It was one of the most moving experiences I have witnessed in a very long time.
I called Idella Sunday morning and jokingly mentioned that I felt like I had attended her funeral the day before and the best part about it was she was alive to hear what people said. What if, before we died, we were all blessed to hear all of the wonderful things people would say about us at our funerals?
Ever since Saturday’s event, I have been thinking of people who have impacted my life in a positive way, yet may have no idea how much they have meant to me; and I realized that I have some "flowers" to deliver.
Stop and Share the Roses!
The recognition brunch for Idella just happened to take place the day after a student shot 6 people at a high school in Marysville, Washington, leaving 3 people dead. I can imagine the scene at the school that day when parents finally met up with surviving students; parents hugging and kissing their children and telling them how much they loved and appreciated them. I can also imagine that for many of those students, they had not heard those things from their parents in a while, if ever. It is unfortunate that many children do not get to hear words of affirmation until a near-death experience happens.
Based on my experiences working with teens over the past 13 years, I believe a lack of value is at the root of much of the at-risk behavior that we see from teens. When parents communicate to their children how much they love and value them, it is much easier for them to love and value themselves. I’m convinced that we would see a very different result in teens’ behavior if more teens knew they were loved and appreciated because they heard it from parents or other adults on a regular basis.
My challenge to you is to make it a point this week to share with your children what they mean to you. Maybe even write them a note/letter so they will have something tangible to revisit at those times when they may feel down, unloved or unappreciated.
I would even challenge you to expand this beyond just your children and contact anyone else that you appreciate, regardless of age or how long it has been since you last communicated with them. Don’t wait for a near-death experience to let them know what they mean to you. Let’s inspire others to “Stop and Share the Roses” so the living will have a chance to smell them before they die.