The idea came to me in a desperate flash of inspiration. I ripped off a section of blank notebook paper, scribbled one word on it and handed it to my daughter. It hadn’t been an easy few weeks at school, and on this day she was feeling blue before it even started.
She didn’t have the words at the time to say it, but her cup was empty. More than anything, I wanted to carry her through the day, literally. But since I couldn’t spend the day with her at school, I decided to try and carry her emotionally. “Take this. I have extra today, you can use some of mine,” I said as I handed her the scrap. Of course she could fold it up. The paper wasn’t for anyone else to see, it was only for her. Her uniform skirt didn’t have pockets, so she decided that her sock was the best place for safe keeping.
Choose your words.
I remember this like it was yesterday, but the date stamp on my photo storage tells me it was October 2017. After that day, which happened to be a good one for her, a family tradition was born … kind of. (I wish I could tell you that I immediately recognize a good idea when it hits me in the face, but sometimes I’m a little dense. At some point over the next year, it came back to me.) So, when I had a little extra pocket change, an abundance of creative energy and a few spare minutes, I made our Word Jar. It holds a spot of reverence in our home, and I can officially say that all five members of my family have benefitted from it it, myself included.
Some days, we don’t have enough of whatever we need. Other times, we’re staring a struggle right in the face. On all of those days, and a dozen others in between, we can grab a little extra of whatever we might be lacking and take it with us. That’s when we reach our hand in and find what we need. For me, it’s often ‘energy’ or ‘peace.’ I’ve handed out cards that said ‘courage’ and ‘strength.’ My son needs a little extra ‘focus’ from time to time and there’s always ‘joy’ for the taking. There are plenty of blank spaces in there too, ripe with creative potential, because my kids know what they need much better than I do.
Jar your thoughts
There’s nothing fancy about this jar. You probably wouldn’t even look twice at it if you came over, but I tell my kids, it not the jar that matters, it’s what it stands for. I’m the praying sort, and believe in setting the right intention, so I whispered an invocation over it and poured these handwritten words inside. I asked the Higher Power to fortify the paper, and the person who might hold it one day.
It’s not a stretch to say that I believe words are powerful. Putting them on paper is therapeutic for me, reading a story filled with them is medicine of the best kind. Maybe that makes sense to you, or maybe not. But we can all agree that words have an effect on us and our kiddos. I don’t know what you need today, but I’m saving space for you right here: ____________. Put it on paper and slip it in your pocket, I’ll give you some of my extra __________ if you have a bit of courage to share. Let’s make a trade. We can empower each other with our words, carrying each other through whatever today (or tomorrow) holds. In case you want to take it a step further, I’ve attached a printable version of our list here. I hope these words serve your family as well as they’ve served mine.