Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Human Chaos Project

You give but little when you give of your possessions 
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
~ Kahlil Gibran

What do an "Algebra Survival Guide", a copy of "People" magazine and a "Magic, The Gathering" artifact card have in common?  

Well, you may remember that I recently learned that a small gift I sent made a huge difference in a friend's life.  That reminded me of chaos theory, which says that little causes may have large effects, and inspired me to try to sow more little seeds of caring in the lives of the people around me.  

I don't know how often I'll post about this - because it's not about listing things that I do.  But, once in a while, if I think there is an important point that I want to try to remember for myself, I'll probably talk about it here.  ;)

As you've guessed by now, each of those pictures represents a small gift that I've given to someone in the last week.  (Believe it or not, someone actually did want a book about algebra!)  

One of my ESL students had a medical event that landed her in a long term care facility for a couple of weeks.  On Sunday I went to visit her and took flowers and some magazines (including People) to cheer her up.  She was happy with the flowers and the magazines, but what struck me was that the thing that made her the happiest was that I showed up - that I took the time to stop by and visit her.  Whenever anyone walked past the door to her room, she called them in to meet me.  "It's my teacher!" she said, "My teacher came to see me!"  

And that reminded me of another time when I had a similar realization.  I try to visit the husband and young son of my friend who passed away a year ago fairly regularly.  At first, I always wanted to take some little gift for the boy (who recently turned 3 years old).  But it wasn't long before I realized that the thing that meant the most to him was that I get down on the floor and play silly, imaginary games with him - like hide-and-go-seek or the sleepy-little-puppy game...  

It is so easy - especially with the internet! - to make a couple of clicks and buy a gift for someone.  But I need to remember that often what people really want is to have someone take some time and just pay attention to them.  

Anyways, like I said, I'm not going to post about my Human Chaos Project often.  But, you know, there's no reason you couldn't start your own Human Chaos Project...  It isn't expensive - I have it on good authority that all you have to do is take a little time and pay attention to someone in your life.  ;)


  1. You are so right. Isn't it ironic that the thing people want most, which is our time, is what we have the least of to give? Most of us could do better at giving of ourselves. What a wonderful world we could create.

    1. You're exactly right, Gwen, I never have enough time to do all the things I want to do - for myself or for the people that I love...