The Secret Gift of T.T.T.

© Robyn R. Smith, 2016

January is a time for both reflecting on the past and preparing for the future. As you consider your accomplishments and goals, how much thought do you give to the people in your life? Can you identify someone who has positively impacted your life? If so, you’ve probably met a person practicing the secret gift of T.T.T. – Take The time!

This abbreviation is the signature of one of my influencers – my husband’s Uncle Rink. He’s a retired orthotics specialist who still helps family and longtime customers (some more than 50 years) relieve pain by altering their shoes – and their souls.

Visiting Uncle Rink is always a pleasure. It doesn’t matter how much you hurt going in, you always feel better coming out – even if he didn’t fix anything with your shoes. It’s because he lives his premise of T.T.T. He takes time to sit and talk, and even more importantly, to listen. What may start as a conversation about the weather may turn into a discussion of our longing for a vacation and the hard hours we’ve been putting in. He’ll empathize and encourage, acknowledging how hard it can be, but what a great job we’re doing to get through it. We leave feeling affirmed and even refreshed, without a single circumstance changing.

Uncle Rink’s gift is a rare and valuable treasure. In our rush-about society, few people have real time for anyone else anymore. It is the exception, not the rule, when someone stops what they’re doing to just listen and encourage someone else. Yet that bit of time can influence a life powerfully. You probably know some examples in your own life.

One of Uncle Rink’s longtime clients struggles with depression, yet when she visits him for her orthotics, she often cancels her appointment with her counselor. She doesn’t need it that week – she’s been heard, offered compassion, and encouraged.

Growing up, some of the most influential people in my life were my school’s janitors. They went about their work every day just like everyone else, but they always took the time to listen. It made me feel significant. As an adult, I still cherish the mentors in my life who willingly take the time to share with me, listen to me, and help me grow.

Maybe you’ve experienced someone with the secret gift of T.T.T. Some stereotypical listeners include barbers, hairstylists, and bartenders. In my life right now, my listeners include an author, a sales group, my nutritionist, and of course, my Uncle Rink. In your life, it could be a neighbor, a co-worker, even the crossing guard at the corner. T.T.T. is not limited by one’s age, profession, or position in life. The only limitation is whether or not one takes the time.

So how about you? On a scale of one to ten, where would you fall as a listener? I know I find myself challenged to become one of those listeners. I also know that when I take time for someone else, even a stranger, I always receive much more than I give. It’s a thrill to pass on to others the blessing someone else gave to me of taking the time.

As you reflect on the positive influences in your life, consider who you might bless with the gift of T.T.T. It can be anyone from a child to an elderly neighbor to a co-worker, or even a boss. (How often do people really listen to their bosses? think about it!) All it takes is a little T.T.T.

Thanks for Taking the Time to read this. Please take a little more to share your T.T.T. memories or goals in the comments.

One thought on “The Secret Gift of T.T.T.

  1. Kathie York

    Excellent, Robyn! You are preaching to the choir on this one. Ron and I are great proponents of putting down the electronic leash, looking someone in the eye, and giving up the busy lifestyle long enough to pay attention. This is especially important with kids and one of the most important things one can do to influence a teen. Ironically, I just heard this on the radio, this morning: if you don’t give your kids your time, they’ll find someone who WILL.



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