The Importance of Feeling Needed

Dear Reader:

Isn’t it a nice feeling to be needed? If I had to make a list of my greatest fears in life, I think this would top the list…no longer being needed. (And just not needed, but a burden to boot.)

I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that I returned to Mt. Pleasant Monday to have a “Girl Day” with Mandy and Eva Cate. Eva Cate had brought home her interim report with checks on all the progress she has started making. So Mom and Boo Boo took her to see “SING” at the movies (adorable, loved every minute) and then we got some frozen yogurt while still managing to  squeeze a little shopping in. A fun day!

Yesterday I returned to James B. Edwards Elementary School to share some fun facts with Eva Cate’s first grade class on the Presidents. They were excited and hands were constantly raised like the 3-year-olds from Primrose. That excitement was still there…alive and well.

It makes me wonder when that love of learning stops. By the time I got eighth graders in my own social studies class…the love of learning, for learning’s sake, had just about disappeared from the horizon. And even if a few students still enjoyed learning…they kept it quiet for fear of being ridiculed by their peers.

When does the magic wand ( the love of learning) vanish like the rabbit in the hat? All I know is that it takes a lot of teacher encouragement, by middle school age,  to bring that rabbit back again. That’s why it is so encouraging when I do storytelling in any form or/on any subject and get an enthusiastic response…for those precious minutes I spend with  “sponge minds and hearts” I feel needed. To keep the love of learning shining brightly!

1434799972There is an excerpt in the book, Simple Little Words, that tells the power of feeling needed throughout life. The story is all about a wedding and some church flowers.

A woman was putting on a wedding for her daughter and had everything down and planned, with one exception. Decorating the church with flowers. To save money the floral decorator persuaded Mrs. Ellison to use magnolia blossoms and greenery from her own neighborhood. The florist told her, precisely, where some magnolia trees were in full bloom that she could use. The plan was to decorate the day before the wedding, turn the church air-conditioning on low over night and they would be perfect and ready to go on the wedding day.

Everything went well, at first. Mrs. Ellison and some friends and family helped her decorate the sanctuary…it was gorgeous! But the next day when she and her son-in-law went to check on last-minute details they discovered a storm, the night before, had knocked the power off. The once glossy white magnolia blossoms were wilted and black.

Her son-in-law said he would clean up the mess and get the vases ready to house new magnolias and greenery while she cut some more. In sheer panic she saw one tree, near the church, covered in blossoms…this tree might save her terrible situation…if the owner were willing to let her have them for the ceremony.

When she knocked on the door an eighty-six-year-old man answered. Without a word (after hearing of her dilemma) he grabbed a step stool, cut the blossoms and handed them to the mother. She thanked him profusely.

But it was the elderly man who stared at her intently and thanked her, even more profusely. “My wife died on Monday. Tuesday night, we received friends at the funeral home. We buried her on Wednesday, and on Friday, all my children went home.'”

“Now it is just me and the house feels so empty. I took care of my wife these last few years and now she is gone and doesn’t need me. My children are grown and don’t need me any more.” Right before you came, I shook my fist at God and shouted, “God, does anybody in this whole world need me?” (As the words left my mouth…you drove up and the first words out of your mouth were, “I need you.”

“While I was cutting the magnolia blossoms for you, it dawned on me that I could have a flower ministry. Some of the caskets at the funeral home didn’t have flowers…and I could take some to nursing homes and hospitals to brighten patients’ days.”


So until tomorrow…“You know, life fractures us all into little pieces. It harms us, but it’s how we glue those fractures back together that make us stronger.”

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*I just have to tell this story because it is funny. As Eva Cate’s class came in from recess and got settled in…one little boy asked me if I were Eva Cate’s mother. I beamed and said “No” I am her grandmother, Boo Boo.” He giggled and left. When, later, Mrs. Kent was going over listening instructions and why we should make eye contact so the speaker knows we are listening…the same little boy said aloud…“And we should always show respect to old people.”

I gulped and then started laughing as Mrs. Kent’s face started turning red. I explained to her what had happened prior to to those remarks…and how I had loved being Eva Cate’s mother before confessing to be “Grandmother Boo Boo.” After all…being a grandparent automatically puts one in the old category, especially to a six-year-old!

Yes, I think that little fella will probably be a mathematician when he grows up or a scientist…he has his data and categories in right order.

*The funniest little fella, however, was one I bumped into, literally, last Friday while waiting for Mandy to use the restroom after the leadership program.

I was standing against the wall and a teacher had taken her CD (four-year-old) class to the restroom. While she was helping some finish washing their hands…a few others had straggled outside by the wall. One little boy bumped into me and then looked up startled. He had the cutest little lisp and said:

“Shorry…I didn’t shee you.” He then looked at me again closer. “I like your lip “ca-lor”, ladee, it is purdy and brwight.” What ‘ca-lor’ is et?” (I just happened to have bought it and told him the name. “The name of my lipstick is Uptown Mauve. It has some pink and purple in it.” He squinted back up and nodded approvingly. ” “Et look good.” He then traced his own lips and smiled again. The teacher came out and the little class left me with the biggest smile on my face. Now that ladies and gentlemen is a fashion designer in the making.

*I noticed that the last picture in yesterday’s blog didn’t pop up…so I want to share it with you today. No wonder the boys were so quiet Sunday night…they were sleeping together…no monster will take on two little boys, especially one with “Woody, the cowboy.”


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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3 Responses to The Importance of Feeling Needed

  1. Jo Dufford says:

    Having had the privilege and pleasure of teaching for so many years, this blog brought back mental pictures of times when I actually saw the light come on in some students’ eyes and then saw the joy it brought. That’s what keeps a teacher going. “Being needed” is a necessary part of life for all ages, but when you are younger, you are needed in so many places until you don’t realize what a joy that feeling is (You would sometimes have been glad to have relinquished some of the joy to someone else.). As we get older and aren’t quite so busy, we do indeed understand that it is a NECESSARY part of life. Thanks for saying it so well.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      How true….when we are younger and so “needed” we cherish the private moments when we can escape being needed for anything. It is only later, when the children are gone, the students are gone and time smiles more in abundance that we realize just how precious feeling needed is. You nailed it as usual dear friend!


  2. Rachel Edwards says:

    Oh…what truth…everyone needs a purpose in life…when I think of Mother who could be a pistol at times I smile bc she convinced the residents to save their winnings from Bingo to give to the activities director to use when she went to the Dominican Republic to work with women involved in human trafficking. ..and she recruited a young man that battled depression as she did to come and teach Sunday School. ..I could go one but the point is that instead of being sad she made life good. ..not everyday but a lot more than many…loved the boys sleeping together…too sweet. ..

    On Feb 22, 2017 6:00 AM, “Chapel of Hope Stories” wrote:

    > Becky Dingle posted: “Dear Reader: Isn’t it a nice feeling to be needed? > If I had to make a list of my greatest fears in life, I think this would > top the list…no longer being needed. (And just not needed, but a burden > to boot.) I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that I re” >


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