Do you like little surprises? I said, “little” surprises, not those big deal birthday surprises where you walk into your house and the whole neighborhood yells “surprise,” or those horrid surprises on your credit card statement, right after Christmas.
I’m talking about the times when your husband comes home from work with a single rose for you or your child surprises you by doing a chore you didn’t ask him or her to do. If you thought to yourself, ‘Ha, Carl’d never come home with a single rose for me,’ or Jenny wouldn’t lift a finger if I didn’t ask her to, maybe you need to ask yourself when was the last time you surprised Carl or helped Jenny with a chore?
In order to get those little life-treats, it’s important to cultivate a climate of thoughtfulness and kindness. In other words, you have to be a surprisor if you want to be a surprisee. Surprising another takes thinking about the people in your life, knowing what they like and planning little thoughtful acts to please.
Surprises don’t have to cost money. Deciding to forgive someone for something is a great free gift. A smile can be a big surprise especially during a tense time. Compassionate understanding is also free.
Here are 6 ideas for giving and getting surprises:
1. Ask everyone in the family, “What one thing could I do to help you be happier?” (Be prepared to tell each person in your family one thing you would like.) You probably know your family very well, but this question may surprise you with some new data. Things change and you might be surprised by what they have to say.
One of the best surprises Terry gives me is when he’ll say, “I’m taking you out to breakfast or lunch or dinner.” Even though I love my kitchen and love to cook, hearing that sentence is close to the joy I feel when I hear Rhapsody in Blue. I also love honest compliments from him as well as when he thanks me. (Just this morning I got a two-in-one! After breakfast he said, “Hmm Hmm, great breakfast, thank you!” It made my day. I like it when he drives my car and fills it with gas and when he takes me to the show.
2. Offer to help. When two or more are gathered in a project it becomes ten times easier.
3. Leave sweet notes of appreciation and encouragement.
4. Money Have you ever noticed how fun it is to find money? Even if it’s just a dime on the sidewalk or a dollar bill floating around in your purse. There’s just something magical about running into cash.
5. Unexpected gifts. Think of little gifts you can give your husband or children and see if you can elicit, “What’s this for?” Then you can say, “Oh, I saw it and thought of you, and had to get it.”
6. Surprise places. I can’t believe the excitement Terry and I have generated in our neighborhood this spring with a mystery bus ride to a mystery restaurant for dinner. Each person is paying $20 for the bus ride and they have no idea where we’re going. So far we have 48 clueless people signed up.
Life has a way of burying us in a blizzard of busy-ness. It’s so easy to get bogged down and forget to enjoy our families and the little things in life that make us special. With just a little forethought we make a big difference.