I was up at the crack of dawn on a recent weekend morning for the Twin Cities Marathon. It was a perfect fall day. No, I didn't run, but I did lots of rooting from the sidelines at mile six, near our house where runners reach the top of their first hill. I wasn't the only one. Standing across the street amid the early-morning crowd was a young family decked out in bright-yellow T-shirts blazing with encouraging hand-painted sayings: "You Rock!"; "Go Sue Go!"; "Love you, Sue!"
"It's so difficult to run a marathon of over 26 miles for the first time," said Sue's sister, Lynn Burley, mom of two school-age girls, teacher and seasoned marathoner. It makes such a difference in reaching your goal when people encourage and cheer for you along the way. It's as important as training, water and food."
Sure enough, seeing the familiar faces of her daughter and sister's family would be the initial cheers of many she'd receive on her way to crossing the finish line.
I came home thinking about how everyone can use a boost once in a while.
The gestures can be simple, yet can yield big results in the lives of people we support. That's when my husband told me about Desiree Kuik, the human resources person at a K-12 school where he works.
"She's always up to motivating the teachers and staff," he said.
Sure enough, to prove his point, he pulled out of his briefcase an eye-catching cellophane bag he found on his desk after a very busy week of work.
On the outside was a printed sticker that read: "Here's S'more Encouragement!"
Inside the bag were two graham crackers, two marshmallows, a Hershey's milk chocolate bar, and a simple recipe card she had printed on her computer:
Layer the following:
1/2 graham cracker
4 small blocks of chocolate
1 large marshmallow
Microwave for 15 seconds.
The recipe ended with "Enjoy the gooey treat!" And we did. I'm sure all the teachers and staff who received the thoughtful gesture felt encouraged by it and enjoyed it, too.
Feeling inspired? Find someone, and encourage your family to cheer 'em on and give 'em a boost this week.
Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."