Update: Jan. 10, 2018
Whether we care to admit it or not, we all have a treasure box of ‘worldly’ possessions prominently stored somewhere in the house.
Inside every box are favorite jewelries, designer clothes with matching purses, shoes in every style and color, and handyman tools, even stuff that we have forgotten for a long time. If one day I wake up and decide to get rid of mine, I will have a load to fill a rented U-Haul to take them to the nearby thrift shop!
But today, I am writing about a different treasure box. It is my treasure box: a collection of timeless memories of family, friendship, acquaintances and colleagues who give meaning to my life; and a collection of memorable moments of making a difference in the lives of others. My treasure box is lined with fabrics of values and wisdom that my parents have embedded in my heart as a child and as an adult. As I unlock my treasure box, here’s what I found:
Family Living in a large family of twelve, plus cousins living full time and part time with us there was this lack of basic necessities, however, when we sat on this huge table and bench built by my father, we were a regular family who shared whatever was in front of us. Our mother and father woke up early in the morning with my brothers and sisters to show the value of hard workand an honest living.
I learned to appreciate my parents’ sacrifices – they showed us the value of gratitude for every gesture of kindness from others. They told us to be humble, to be thankful and to always look back to those who made a difference in our lives. ‘Nothing is ever free, there is no free ride in life, every good thing must be earned.‘ The many blessings I received can never be repaid, but as my parents taught me, every little gesture of kindness to others makes a lot of difference to the lives of many.
An integral part of my treasure box are three of the most important figures in my life: my husband, who I met later in life and who took me to a six-year honeymoon in the ‘land of aloha’ while he worked with a compassionate company; my only daughter, who has grown into a generous and kind human being; and our dear puppy, who brings endless love to us and joy to everyone he meets.
Teachers, Friends and Colleagues I am very fortunate to have teachers who became mentors, along with many, many friends and colleagues who taught me the value of respect, honesty and integrity. In school and in the workplace, these values have carried me through in realizing my dreams and aspirations. A high school teacher turned mentor inspired me, and though we didn’t see each other again until many years later, she recognized my voice on the phone and called my name.
She invited me to a college graduation where she was the commencement speaker, and where she introduced me as a ‘daughter’. With tears, I realized then that the imprint of this relationship can never be measured, as it is as timeless as the stars, the sun and the moon.
Employers I worked for one of the best companies who encouraged its employees to learn, perform and succeed, and who gave me the opportunity to get the best education on the job and in graduate school. I worked for managers who motivated and inspired me to excel in my job. In return, I gave it my ultimate best with the recognition of a grateful person.
My job took me to different places in the country where I met many wonderful people along the way, who gave me the extraordinary experience and perspectives of a lifetime. In retrospect, I feel proud to have represented the company with ethicsand integrity of someone who was rooted from the humble beginnings of a close-knit, hardworking family. I would be remiss if I didn’t embed the figure of a former boss who cheered me along and who to this day remains as my adopted sibling.
Home-grown Values and Wisdom These home-grown values and wisdom are part of how I became an adult. The lessons I learned from my parents, siblings, family, teachers, mentors, circle of friends, colleagues and employers are priceless. The common thread that binds me with them can never be broken. With a great sense of gratitude I share my experience, knowledge and success with those who touch my life with their compassion and generosity, and with those I never met.
As I gently close my treasure box, I feel energized by the memory of my parents who provided the extraordinary fabric, lined with the everlasting love and respect of everyone who enriched my life. I am happy and blessed by their loving presence in my treasure box for me to unlock any time. And to my dearest husband Bob, who inspired me with his love, humility and sharing. Today I continue to learn and grow. I continue to add memories and people to my treasure box – they are priceless and timeless.
Normita Fenn studied journalism at University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She earned her MBA in Marketing from Golden Gate University-San Francisco. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @NormitaFenn