For me Christmas starts soon after Halloween. The holidays flow so quickly into one another, I have seen porches donned with pumpkins carved weeks earlier next to cornucopias overflowing in abundance, all of which were draped in twinkling holiday lights. In the weeks between October 31st and December 25th, there is a flurry of activity that we feel overwhelmed in keeping up with.
As an activity professional this does not go unnoticed. There are so many creative ideas, projects, and active games that fill our calendars, I often feel overwhelmed with keeping up. The frustration I feel is, “what happens next?” When the lights come down and the hype of the holidays fade into the distance, how do we make up for the absence we feel? It’s the emotional equivalent to how empty your living room space feels after you take down your holiday tree.
Case in point, Christmas CD’s that fill the space with familiarity, warmth, comfort and joy. I have more Holiday CD’s in my Activity cabinet than I do of any other kind. The only time to play them appropriately is during this 2 month flurry. I have my favorites and so do my residents, but one particular song recently struck out to me. A song that I feel can carry our mission beyond the holidays and into the new year. A song that can inspire even the most worn out Activity Professional as the holidays come to a screeching halt and we ponder “What next?”
The little drummer boy is an oldie but a goodie. Its simple tale is that of a humble child driven to give the small king a gift of gratitude. He, however, feels his gift is inferior compared to the Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold provided by the Three Kings. He even goes so far as to admit he feels that he has “no gift to bring… that’s fit to give a king.”
This resonates with the unsung heroes that we are. On an average day we may feel that we do not carry the esteem of other professionals in our building. Additionally we can think of the beautiful exteriors, luxurious ponds in the outdoor spaces and winding staircases within our buildings as the wealthy tributes, symbols of a grand gesture to be everlasting. These gifts are valuable but can be compared to a “one time lump sum payment”, often not nourishing on a daily basis. What they lack is the spirit of love, gratitude and honor. They miss the mark in truly reflecting what our industry should value.. Feeding the soul with kindness and generosity.
The gift from the little drummer boy is a gift that cannot be weighed, like gold, lite like frankincense, or permeate with myrrh. It is a gift of the soul.
When you “play your drum” for your residents, you give what you can with what you have. What follows is “the ox and lamb (keeping) time”, joining you in your provisions, seeing the industry’s values alive in your efforts. Playing the drum can be exhausting, in order for the music to continue, you must constantly beat at a rhythmic pace. This is a gift that you continue to give, a
gift that echoes beyond time. What you find is that “He smiled at me”, a true representation of the gratitude your residents have for you, knowing that what you give each and every day comes straight from your soul as a gift to thiers.
So as this years come to a close and we dust off the christmas needles from our shoulders, envisioning a new year to come in hopes that it is better that the ones before it, remember this: You are a little drummer boy. You give a gift of value that cannot ever be compared to the tangible environment. Your efforts do not go unnoticed. I am humbled by what you do each and every day and so are your residents. They may not recognize it at the moment, but you are providing them with a rhythmic pace that guides their days and fills their souls.
-Cathy Braxton, Owner and CEO of Improv4caregivers