By Kim Longden
“Look mom!” my three-year-old said proudly, “I’m decorating!” I looked up from my computer to see that I had been so engrossed in typing, I hadn’t noticed my daughter, less than two feet away, covering my printer with stickers.
Experiencing the nightmare of removing stubborn stickers from all kinds of things has made me institute a pretty strict “stickers only go on paper” rule around here, so my knee-jerk reaction was to chastise the little interior decorator properly. Before I said anything, though, I heard a quiet “dooby, dooby-doo” in the back of my mind; and I paused, smiled, and got a little teary eyed.
Back in the 1990s, Bud Ice ran these beer commercials (stay with me here) where people were terrified of a little penguin, who was wreaking all kinds of adorable havoc. In the overly-dramatic commercial scenes, the penguin would suddenly appear, saying, “dooby, dooby-doo” in a sing-songy voice to the tune of “Strangers in the Night.”
This inevitably caused over-the-top fear and panic for the people in the commercials. I remember, my family thought these commercials were so funny at the time! (I found them online recently, and could only shake my head at the cheesiness—ha-ha!)
Back in the 90s, though, I thought it would be great fun to take tiny penguin stickers and put them in random places throughout my childhood home. Then, when someone happened upon one of the little penguins, I’d creepily call out, “Dooooby, dooby-doooooo” from the shadows.
I remember us all laughing about those silly penguin stickers, especially my dad. I can still hear him saying “Dooby, dooby-doo,” even years later, when he would come across a forgotten penguin sticker in some random place around the house.
As a parent looking back now, I cringe a bit logistically at the thought of me putting stickers all over our home. However, if my mom and dad were annoyed by my little penguins, I don’t remember it. I just remember us laughing at the shenanigans that ensued.
You see, my parents valued people over things; and this value was evident in the way they lived. Mom and Dad always had what they needed, but they didn’t pour all their energy into material pursuits; they poured into others. Relational connections were their life investment.
And what a harvest they reaped! When my mom died a couple of years ago, I was completely amazed at the number of people who said they had heard about Christ from her! The line at my dad’s visitation went through the building and out the door with people whose lives he had touched in some way, because he was the kind of person who would strike up a conversation with anyone.
My parents’ earthly, material legacy was not vast, but the ripple effect of their relationships is a heavenly legacy that will continue for generations. They truly invested in the things that “moth and rust cannot destroy,” and I am eternally blessed to be a part of that legacy.
Looking at my sticker-covered printer brought tears to my eyes as I remembered my parents and how they lived out their priorities and values. This brief “dooby, dooby-doo” pause made me look at my daughter’s “decorating” differently.
We had just put up our Christmas tree, and I knew my three-year-old was riding out the excitement over how fun it was to decorate when she took up the task of making my printer look festive. Instead of chastising, I gave her a hug and told her how beautiful it looked.
Does this mean I’ll give up my “stickers only go on paper” rule? No; I still have my sanity to consider.
But I think I will pause more often to consider whether some “thing” is really a big deal, or possibly an opportunity for a “dooby, dooby-doo” connection moment.
People over things.
Thanks, Mom and Dad