Enjoy little things, for someday you may look back and realize they were the big things

The famous biographer James Boswell (known best for his acclaimed biography of Samuel Johnson) spoke often of a special childhood memory—a day spent fishing with his dad. Even as an adult, Boswell would reminisce about the time, citing the many things his father taught him during the hours together. 

Many years later, after both James and his dad had passed away, the older man’s journals were found. Someone looked up what he had written in his diary on the day that had meant so much to his son.

The father had written, “Gone fishing today with my son; a day wasted.”

What can we learn from this anecdote? 

      • Don’t underestimate the potential impact of time spent with other people. Even though you may not be a famous person (James’ father was not), a small kindness or time spent with others can deeply affect their lives. 
      • You may never know the impact you have on other people—they may not tell you and you would not suspect it—but acts of kindness are always appropriate and usually bear fruit. 
      • Though several people are experiencing the same thing, each will see and interpret it differently. For instance, though multiple people may enter the same room at the same time, their experiences may differ drastically. When an interior designer and a security expert enter the same room, they likely will have vastly different thoughts. Let’s not be quick to judge the elder Boswell, because we don’t know the back-story of that day. I can only imagine that he would have been pleased to know how much his son enjoyed their day together.  

My biggest take away from this anecdote is that I’m going to slow down my pace and spend more quality time with family and friends.

8 Replies to “Enjoy little things, for someday you may look back and realize they were the big things”

  1. What a brilliant article! Both you and I know that the time we spend with our grandchildren is so precious. Perhaps because we know we might not be around when they are adults, we want to listen to them and respond to how they see the world. I love the part about how each person entering a room will see the scene from a different perspective. I want to hold that thought.

    1. Thanks, Angela. We have a new granddaughter in our lives – Claire is three months old. Her mother, our daughter, Sarah, lives with us so we see Claire 24/7. 24 carrot joy.

  2. I’m so fortunate to have these days with my 100 yr. Old Father. He verbally has been expressing wonderful things to me. ” your a wonderful daughter. Thank you so much for the haircut. I look 65 again.” I know these are precious times and grateful for them. I know there will be a day where they will remind me of their importance. I write them in my journal.

    1. Linda, how special it is to have your father to visit and visit with. It means all the world to him. Enjoy those special times. Take care, Don.

  3. Thanks for these weekly thoughts. I look forward to them!
    Enjoyed the ladies choir last Sunday! Had not heard them before. If you take requests, Lanny Wolfe’s “Praise His Holy Name” is beautiful and a favorite of mine. Blessings to you and yours.

    1. Walt, thanks for taking the time to respond. The women’s chorus was, indeed, marvelous. I need to check into the Lanny Wolfe song. As a young adult I listened to his music often. Take care, Don

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