Peer Ministers share Lollipop Moments: small acts having a big impact
On my birthday a few years ago, I was on the receiving end of a lollipop moment. My Uncle Jim, who was going through a hard time financially, was the one who initiated the lollipop moment. After receiving plenty of generous gifts from my uncles, aunts, and cousins, my Uncle Jim approached me with a plain white bag. He told me happy birthday, and I opened his gift. Inside the bag was a plain grey t shirt, and it meant more than any other gift I received that day.
Although I have not told my uncle about the significance of this moment, I will never forget it. His actions reminded me of a story of the Bible, called The Widow’s Offering. In this story, a poor woman gave only a few cents as her offering, while many rich men gave grand offerings and large sums of money. However, Jesus recognized the woman, for she gave all that she had. In a way, this is what my uncle did. Regardless of his situation, he still made an effort for his nephew. This moment taught me to always make my best effort, no matter what situation I am in.
One time I was on the receiving end of a lollipop moment when someone paid for my meal at Dunkin Donuts Drive Thru. I was having a terrible morning because I forgot to charge my chromebook the night before and I forgot my pens and pencils at home. Then, at Dunkin Donuts, the person ahead of me paid for my coffee and doughnut. This gesture made my morning significantly better, and I’m upset that I couldn’t thank this person. In order to show my appreciation, I decided to pay for the person behind me in order to make their morning better.
One day a few years ago, I was having a talk with my grandpa, it was a few weeks after he had gotten open heart surgery. He was telling me about his recovery and how he was striving to get healthier. I asked him about his plan for recovery, but instead of explaining it to me he took a different route. He looked me in the eyes and he said, “Be thankful for every day you can wake up and get out of bed on your own, and do everything you can to keep it that way.”
As a grammar schooler with not much of a grasp on anything except being a kid, this opened my eyes to a worldview I had never imagined before. This was the first time I really understood that everyone’s life comes to an end and that I won’t be able to play on the playground forever. I think about him and that day almost every day I wake up and I promised I wouldn’t let myself take my youth for granted.
There have been many times in my life where I have received a lollipop moment but the biggest moment for me was when my sister and I had our dinner paid for by a nice man we met. My sister and I went to Fuji steakhouse for a nice dinner out. At the restaurant you sit across from other customers and share a table while the cook makes a hibachi dinner in front of you. We sat with a couple who were in their early 60s. They were very nice and we had a great conversation with them. They told us about their kids, how they met, and their grandkids on the way. My sister told them about how she was going to college at the time for nursing. We said our goodbyes and they left. When my sister asked for the check the waitress told us the couple paid for our meal and left a note telling my sister they wished her the best of luck for college and to save money.
This gesture meant a lot for my sister and me. This couple made me and my sisters day because it was one of the nicest things that someone did for us. We really appreciated this act of kindness because they did it out of the kindness of their hearts and did it to help my sister. I will never forget this moment because at the time it filled me with joy and it showed me that someone’s actions can impact my outlook on life in a positive way. There are times in our lives where we feel God’s love through others and it made me want to help others. You never know how one act of kindness can affect someone.
When I was a sophomore I had to become a runner for the dean’s office. I had to sit in the dean’s office with two other kids and basically we did what was asked of Doc Matthius and Mrs. Liston. I had known C for only a year or so, but we began talking more often while we would eat lunch and play games on the Chromebook together. As the weeks continued, we transitioned from regular talk to deep conversations about personal things that have occurred to us. C exposed to me that he had been bullied for most of his time at his elementary school. I did not realize how mean people can be to such a genuine kid. He explained to me that I am one of the only people that he has talked to about this, and that his respect for me as a person has grown exponentially. Since that moment, I have been great friends with C.
A lollipop moment refers to a moment when someone said or did something that made another person’s life fundamentally better. I experienced a lollipop moment the night of my last high school football game. After a long, hard-fought season, our team lost a close game in the state semi-finals. After a long and emotional bus ride home, me and one of my teammates decided to go out to eat at a mexican restaurant to cheer ourselves up. It was there that we saw one of our favorite coaches. He walked in, picked up food to go, said hello to us, and was gone. Other than a strange coincidence, me and my teammate thought little of the encounter. It wasn’t until the waitress told us that our entire bill and tip was paid for by a stranger that I had my lollipop moment.
When the waitress first told us that our entire check was paid for, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe how considerate our coach was at the time. After coming up short in the game that we worked so hard and so long for, that meal was more than just free food. It was a message to us to keep our heads up, to show us that there was more to the game than the scoreboard. In that moment I realized that the most important thing I learned through my years of high school football was the impact you can have on the players and coaches around you. Coach showed me that impact in an amazing fashion.
The time that I was the source of a lollipop moment was when I was in the seventh grade at Most Holy Redeemer. Throughout most of that year, a kid two years younger than me was constantly being bullied by his classmates at recess. I didn’t care to notice or do anything about it at the time, but then I realized how lonely and upset he was getting recently. One day before recess, the kid who was getting bullied was being surrounded by a bunch of kids who were slapping his shins and I stepped in and told them to knock it off. The bullies were shocked that I stepped in because I was considered a cooler kid in grammar school and from there on out they respected the kid who they were constantly bullied.
After that situation took place, I completely forgot about it because the kid was not getting bullied anymore. The next year as I was applying for high school, the kid’s dad gave me a good word to go to Brother Rice because he never forgot the time when I helped his son at recess. It made me feel great that his dad never forgot about that moment because I didn’t think it was that big of a deal at the time. Now, I see the kid who helped in grammar school walking down the halls at Brother Rice with a smile on his face.
I was once a source of a lollipop moment. I had been going through a rough senior season for soccer, and was beginning to lose hope in the season. After a rough loss, I went home in despair. I felt lost, and only wished for the season to end quickly. After talking it over with my mom, she reminded me that I will miss the season once it is gone and should stay positive and enjoy the games that I have left in my career. I was talking with my friend Leo and he reminded me of the same concepts with examples of his hockey career two years prior. I was able to turn around my mental view on my final season at Rice and enjoy myself for the rest of the games. Leo probably does not remember our talk, and my mom may remember it but at an insignificant point in time. This lollipop moment was small for them, but huge for me and turning around my season.
I had only acknowledged the significance of this night recently. I did not notice it at the time because there was still so much season left to play. While searching for a lollipop moment, I remembered this moment of Leo and my mom helping me through a tough time and changing my outlook on things.
A time where I was the source of a lollipop moment came over the summer. I had a friend that was going through some things and I was there for him through it all. I did not really know what I was doing at the time because I was just being a friend. If he asked me to go out somewhere to clear his mind I did it without hesitation, not knowing how much it helped.
I later discovered how much of a help I was when I went on Kairos with the friend. I had told him to go on Kairos with me because I thought it would be a good time. There I learned that it helped him even more. He thanked me for making him go on Kairos. He also thanked me for how I was there for him when he needed it and how hard things really were at that time. That made me feel so good about myself but also him that I was able to help him.
There was a time that me and a friend were talking to each other. I was saying how it’s so crazy to think that we are just two meaningless people. That we had no purpose to be in the world. And no one would ever care or look to us for help. That there are bigger people in the world that have a bigger influence on others. But he went on to explain that we do have a purpose. And we can be leaders in the world and that doesn’t mean owning a company or being the president. He went on to say imagine all the people that know you and how you have influenced their lives. I didn’t realize until a few hours later that he has changed my mindset on how everyone has an impact in the world.
Leadership is the ability to inspire others. Each of us influence and lead people everyday. Leaders are not just people who lead companies or countries, they are everyday people. It’s kinda scary to think that what we do matters so much to others. In fact, so much so that it could fundamentally change their life in some way. Lollipop moments really are little world changers and can change someone’s world by small acts, words or experiences.