By Joan Clayton: Religion Columnist
When our youngest son graduated from high school, he walked across the stage, stopped and gave his dad, the high school principal, a giant bear hug. The crowd cheered and I cried. Our son made a happy and memorable day for us.
My husband says I have Christmas every day, but one Christmas stands indelibly imprinted upon my mind. Emmitt took me in his arms and said: “Next to Jesus, you are my special gift. Merry Christmas!” What a happy day he made for me.
On the second day of school a cute little second grader came bounding in my classroom door with a bouquet of flowers. The card read:
“Teacher, I love being in your class. Love, from Scott”
He made my day. As I relished in that happy time, I thought about my own college teachers. Three of my professors still lived in my town and had retired. Had I ever told them “thank you” for their dedication and encouragement? I sat down and wrote a note, telling of my gratitude. In the next few weeks, one by one, all three wrote me back, thanking me for my comments. One in particular, was written in feeble, hardly legible handwriting. All three of them made their heavenly flight during the next year. I’m so glad I made them happy, as happy as Scott had made me.
Another student made my day by writing on his paper: “Thank you for your work. I like your work.” Never had a child done that before. What a treasure. He made my day. Children make many happy days!
I read a touching story of a dear elderly couple. They didn’t have much in the way of worldly possessions, but they wanted it to go to their children. They asked them one by one what they would like to have.
The children responded with: “Mom, dad, you have already given us everything we have ever needed. You have given us something money cannot buy. Your love will last us a lifetime!”
What a happy day those children gave to their parents.
A study was conducted of fifty people who have lived over 100 years and still enjoy a happy life. They were asked about their diets, exercise and lifestyle in general. Nothing was found to be a common denominator in the group. However, when asked about daily living and attitudes the majority of those interviewed said they awoke each day being grateful for another day of life to make someone happy. Many stated life was too short to hold grudges or spend time complaining. Two common traits were shared: “Forgive quickly and don’t dwell on negative thoughts.” And another: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7)
Their secret of longevity is revealed in 1 Peter 4:8: “More importantly, love each other deeply, because love will cause many sins to be forgiven.” (NCV)
Do you have trouble with self-condemnation? Are you your worst critic? Do you ever engage in negative self-talk? Do you allow some worry or anxious situation to dominate your mind? If left unchecked, such actions have a detrimental effect upon your body by putting added stress on your system. It takes a truly concentrated effort to change a thought pattern, but diligence and perseverance are worth it. Those nagging, negative thoughts can be stopped by positive affirmations. We can learn a lot from centenarians.
The gift of time is a wonderful gift. Each day presents an opportunity to make a happy day for someone.
Every day is a gift of time to lose yourself in life. Happy days are up to you. All it takes is a little act of kindness… a note, a smile, an encouraging word, a pat on the back and a loving heart.
Love is a priceless gift and it makes a lot of happy days for everyone.
Portales resident Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and published author. Her e-mail address is: