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It's the Little Things

It’s always the little things that matter.  Ko nga mea iti i nga wa katoa he mea nui.

In this year of COVID-19 lockdown again, it has allowed time for further reflection.  There are screeds of information available via different sites on social media on how to help us maintain our resiliency in uncertain times.  Mental health sites share their rich knowledge in ways we can take care of ourselves to assist in reducing anxiety, fear and those things that might increase our cortisol levels through stress.

I have found often it is the small things that really matter.  It is the acts of kindness, care and compassion that makes the true difference to how we get through our days.  While it is not rocket science, they are often the things that get overlooked in the everyday busy-ness of life.

Families caring for children with serious illnesses are specifically tuned into these attributes that are significant as to how they get through their days.  Every day whānau are attending to complex care needs in symptom management, technology maintenance and the intensive oversight of their children’s needs.  They are well used to the ‘big’ aspects of their children’s care. 

Outcomes from my PhD research highlighted what families depicted as significant in supporting them through the day.  While appropriate skill, expertise and knowledge were deemed important from their health professionals, it was the attributes of being understood, being heard, not being judged, compassion, empathy and care from others that were seen as significant.  Building trusting relationships with their health providers was critical in how they felt supported and could then continue to manage their child’s cares.

As I meet with whānau each day, listening to what is important for them in their grief, or the care of their child, I hear the times they have been ‘bumped’ by the comments of others, or the aloneness they experience when they have not been understood.  Along with that, I also witness the ‘lightness’ of someone when they feel they have been seen, heard and understood.  The ‘bumps’ in life, even if small, can totally alter how we feel in a moment.  We can never underestimate the connections we have with others… even if a brief moment, it is a moment that contributes to our day.

Through these days of uncertainty, internationally and nationally, respectful connections and empathy of each other’s situations go a long way to how we manage in life.  Throughout the day we cross paths with many, we get a snapshot of how a person might be in a moment… we have no idea of what is happening in that person’s life, or that of their whānau.   I am reminded that how I connect with someone has some significance… even if brief, as to whether I have ‘bumped’ someone or contributed to some ‘lightness’ in their life.

In the end, it’s the little things that matter most.  They explode with importance.  Diane Rivoli


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