I have always loved talking and spending time with the elderly. My grandpa and I have always had a special bond and have always enjoyed having conversations about anything and everything. I have learned many lessons from my grandpa and also from volunteering at a nursing home. Every Wednesday, I would go play bingo. At first, the people at the table I sat at wouldn’t speak to me much, maybe a smile here and there. I was a stranger to them, but it was my goal to change that.
After a few Wednesdays, they began opening up to me. The people at my bingo table taught me many lessons without even realizing it. These became the three bingo lessons of life.
Bingo Lesson 1: Get excited about simple things
When someone would win bingo, they would get a quarter. Some people may think it is a pointless prize. What will a quarter get you? It gets you happiness. Every time someone would win bingo and I handed them a quarter, their faces lit up with immense joy. Their eyes twinkled as they tucked their quarter away in their pockets and coin purses. As Clarence would always tell me after he won a few quarters, “I’m going home rich today!” He was right, but I was going home rich, too. Not in the sense of money, but insight. My bingo table taught me to get excited about simple things, like winning a quarter. Don’t underestimate the power of simplicity in life. Get excited.
Bingo Lesson 2: Give compliments
This seems simple and that’s because it is. Give people compliments, even people you don’t know! When people at our table would lose bingo, everyone would still softly tell each other that they played a good game. Once when I sat down, one of the women told me she loved my jacket. A simple compliment stuck with me, and whenever I wear that jacket, I think of her sweet smile. It’s such a simple lesson, but it’s an important one. You never know whose day you will change by simply sharing kind words and compliments.
Bingo Lesson 3: Dance when you can
Once a week, a local group would come and perform music for the residents of the nursing home. I love big band music so I was just as excited as everyone else. As I sat in the back and listened to the trumpets play and watched the musicians sway, I saw a man look at his wife, grab her hand and start to dance with her. They both had a hard time standing, but they were determined. They held hands, danced and pranced around the room as everyone clapped. The love in their eyes and smiles around the room made my eyes water and heart melt. This taught me to dance whenever I can and never to be afraid to be the first person to do something in a room.
These bingo lessons have changed my thoughts and the way I look at situations. I hope they’ve inspired you, too. 🙂