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Life Lesson from a (Spunky) Third Grader

Inspiration comes in strange packages. And though the following story happened a few years ago, it's worth retelling—especially this time of year, when we're all practically too busy to breathe. May it bring you a smile as you start your week.

"Who told you that you were naked?" (a direct quote)

The other morning at Mass, on a holy day of obligation, I walked into our big sanctuary to find it packed with people of all ages, including the school kids from next door. It turns out the kids were doing the readings.

Now I don't know about you, but I try to steer clear of "Children's Mass," especially if I'm on any sort of schedule. But this day, every kid blew me away with how on point they were.

Especially the first little girl, whom I later found out was in third grade. She walked up to the microphone, paused, and as she began the first reading, you could tell from her loud, clear voice she meant business.

"After the man, Adam, had eaten of the tree," she began. Very singsong-y and dutiful, the way little kids speak.

She kept reading. But now she was throwing in different voices for the different characters. As in:

God (stern and booming): "Where ARE you?"
Adam (high-pitched and panicky): "I heard you in the garden! But I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself!"
God (booming and furious, like the troll in Three Billy Goats Gruff): "Who told you that you were naked?"

She read the whole thing like that, nailing every word, every inflection, making every detail spring to life. I'm trying to picture an adult reading like that.

I looked around at the other adults to find I was the only one suppressing laughter or even smiling—not out of derision but out of joy and surprise. In all my life, I don't think I had ever heard a lector who was so all in.

We need that. The world needs all of us to be all in. We need that for ourselves.

She read as though it mattered, and that made all the difference.

So it is with us and our work. When we forget that what we do matters and how we do it matters even more, we miss opportunities to shine. We miss opportunities to inspire those around us and to be inspired.

In that spirit, why not take something ordinary on your calendar this week—whether it's running a meeting or picking up your kids—and infuse it with a little more care and creativity? (You can remind me I said that when I report on Thursday for jury duty.)

Look for opportunities this week to make a difference, even a small one. When someone's counting on you—at home, at work, in the community—look for ways to be all in.

Look for opportunities this week to make a difference, even a small one.

Gina DeLapa

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Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at UltimateReminders.com/mondaymorningpeptalk.