Growing up, I have been blessed to have an angel for a grandmother. She has always taught me that “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” All of the grandchildren would attest that grandma has included them in some sort of project at one point or another. As a young child, I have found memories of cleaning ditch banks or road sides, just to make things look nicer. There was one particular time my grandma recruited the neighborhood kids (approximately 20 kids under the age of 15) to clean the alley way facing the park closest to her house. I don’t remember ever being paid for our efforts. My grandma had a gift of helping us see as children the need of keeping our local area clean and inviting. She would work alongside of us for hours making sure we had the tools we needed. She also shared stories and encouragement as we worked.

As I reflect on these experiences, I think about that great lesson my grandmother instilled in me. I was watching the movie ROBOTS with the kids a few years back and there was a statement that I felt my grandmother lived. “See a need fill a need.” The show is about a young robot who is always looking for ways to help make situations better. They typically were not ways you and I would think traditional, but the need was always filled. I reflected often on this movie and my experience with my grandmother. She always knew when someone was in need. The way we filled those needs were not always the most traditional. I remember as a young child going with her to her elderly friends homes, where she would bath them or put medication on someone who had shingles. She would make a blanket for the local athlete who was injured while competing. She never complained about the work she did.
As I was growing up my grandmother saw a need to help raise my brother Shad and me. This was a decision that would truly change her day to day life. She would wake early in the morning and drive to our house, just to make sure Shad and I were up and ready for school. She was always there to make sure we had a hot breakfast with a glass of juice or milk every morning. I remember she had this little brown car that was always a little broken. Shad would have to turn the key while she held a pencil in just the right place under the hood in order for the car to start. She used to take us to school and pick us up in this car. That was a memory I always had, so much so that when I was a senior I asked her to drive me to school telling her, “I always remember my grandmother driving me to my first and last days of school.” She never complained, in fact she thanked Shad and I for sharing our lives with her. She was the one that made the difference!

As I reflect on these moments I realize how life changing it is for each of us to see a need and fill a need. My wife is a great example of always finding ways to reach out to those who are less fortunate. This practice is something I want to do more of in my own life. The needs are various and can range in so many different ways. They could include a smile, a hug, a listening ear, time spent on a project, food, or even just an encouraging word.

I would love to hear your thoughts about “Seeing a Need and Filling a Need.” What holds us back from helping and being connected with one another? Is it fear? Is it judgment? Is it time?

Lets Chat 🙂

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