Have you seen it? The video of Kevin Durant’s speech as he accepted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award?
If not, take five minutes to watch it now. I promise you’ll love it.
Touching, isn’t it? So tender and loving and selfless.
When I first watched it, I held it together pretty well. Right up to the point when he told his mother,“You’re the real MVP.” That’s when the levee broke.
It wasn’t his words so much. Or even his voice cracking as he said them.
I was his mother’s reaction. That’s what did me in. I bet you reacted the same way.
At the very moment he was receiving the highest honor given to a professional basketball player…a moment that he’d dreamed of his whole life…a moment that rightfully belonged to him…Kevin Durant did something unexpected. He deflected glory to others, especially his mother.
Most importantly, he praised his mother…in her presence.
He did what each of us should do.
Most of us save words like these for a eulogy. What a tragedy. In doing so, we rob the person of the joy of hearing them first-hand.
We don’t do it intentionally. We just get busy. Maybe we don’t know how to string the words together. Or we’re afraid of feeling awkward. But we need to push past our reticence and do it anyway.
The time to honor our parents and other loved ones is now.
Here are a few ways my family has tried to honor others. I hope you’ll add to our list in the comments.
Write a long letter. Have you ever received a note or letter from someone who loves you? I bet you read it, savored it, then stowed it away. Do you ever pull it out when you’re having a lousy day and reread it for encouragement? Me too. The words I wrote on the Why Pliers? page of this blog were taken from a letter I wrote to Uncle Rodge on his 60th birthday. I’ve written similar letters to my Dad and my Mom and sister and close family friends. This is a powerful way to honor the important people in your life.
Create a scrapbook. Fill it with pictures and specific memories and tributes. My sister Traci and I did this for our mother a few years back. On the day we gave it to her, we sat shoulder-to-shoulder on her couch and flipped through it together as her tears stained the pages with personal watermarks. An emotional day for all of us.
Post a tribute on Facebook. The advantage here is that it’s public. Others will read it and will be encouraged to share their thoughts too.
Roast a friend. Years ago, a bunch of my buddies and their wives held a roast for our friend Ed Settles. We pummeled him. We were merciless. Man, was it fun! And no one laughed harder than Ed. (In my experience, women are less likely to enjoy being roasted. Guys are different. Ed bellowed when I said, “The person who told you to be yourself couldn’t have given you worse advice.” But he knew I was saying, “I love you, man.” Guys are weird that way.)
However you decide to do it, might I suggest you do it soon? Dedee’s mom used to say, “Don’t buy flowers for my funeral. Send them to me when I’m alive so I can enjoy them.” Ann died in 2002. As much as we’d like to send her flowers or a kind note, we no longer have the opportunity.
Back in the early ’90s, Gatorade had the slogan, “Be Like Mike.” It celebrated Michael Jordan, another basketball legend. As much as I’d like to be like Mike on the basketball court, these days, I’d much prefer to “be like Kevin.” I bet you do too.
Let’s go honor the living.
Questions: What are some ways you’ve honored your parents or others? What was their reaction? Leave a comment below.
Flickr Creative Commons Image via Keith Allison