A “Bunch”-Ness, Guest Post by Cooperative Youth and Family Ministry Director, Alicia Whitsett
I feel like I could write a book titled “Schooled by a First Grader.” After a little over a year of Sundays with the Ukids class, Kindergarten through 5th graders, it never ceases to amaze me that the lessons I set out to teach, get taught to me times a thousand. For the past few weeks, we have been learning about abundance. I try to explain abundance as having a bunch of something. Last week I asked, “What is something you would like more of in your life?” I thought I would get mostly material responses, but the responses I heard, sparked my personal lesson. “What do I want to BE more of in this life?”
Friendship was a common response, as was love. Even in one child’s request for more horses, I heard that the things that are important to us are connections, relationships, and emotions. I then asked if anyone remembered the lesson from last week and someone enthusiastically shouted out “A bunch of something; A “bunch”-ness!” There it was folks. I could not have dreamed up a better word to explain all of this.
Have you talked to a toddler lately? They have mastered the art of abundance when they tell you they have a whole bunch of something when really it is more like a few. Abundance feels that way. It is that exaggerated, blessed state of being. “I have a bunch of something!” It just sounds good, hence, a “bunch”-ness.
I continued to receive the message of a “bunch”-ness this week and found that more important than the bunch, was the ness. The ness is the act or state of being. When we attribute who we are to the ness, we have ownership. Good or Bad! The easiest examples would be kindness and sickness. I personally do not want to affirm, “I am in the state of being sick.” Say it out loud; it sounds silly. I would, however, love to say to others, and myself, “I am in the act of being kind.” That feels like a cozy sweater on a Midwestern, not Southern, autumn day.
In The Soul of Money book study this week, the idea that we are measured by others and measure our own success and worth by the things we have and do was discussed. Simply being or one’s state of being seems to hold no merit. Wait; but, shouldn’t it?
Ponder this for a moment. When someone says “Tell me about yourself,” a typical response is “I do…” or “I work…” It is usually a laundry list of our roles in society and our accomplishments. When someone is asked to describe someone else, it is more about the ness; what they embody and what others see in them. The truly important stuff!
One word from the mouth of a child changed my entire being. So, what do I want to BE more of in this life? I want to be more of a bunch of nesses and I want my being to have meaning. I want to describe myself to others in affirmative “I am” statements and have that be and feel right. Give me adjectives as my accolades! I want to own the experiences and opportunities that I am passionate about and the nesses I am still working on. I want to own that I am and that I have, a whole bunch. Don’t you?