Dictionary for a Better World: Intention in an Ice Cream Sandwich

I selected the word Intention for today’s focus when I saw that it was National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. I’ll explain the connection in a moment, but in looking at pages 50-51, the poem on these pages of Dictionary for a Better World is a didactic poem, which offers a moral message with an instructional purpose. Oprah Winfrey’s featured quote is, “I believe the choice to be excellent begins with aligning your thoughts and words with the intention to require more from yourself.” Her quote expresses much of the purpose I felt in taking this book and stretching it over two months, allowing the words to seep in and saturate my thinking as I meditate on engaging in acts of service that make a difference. One of the authors shares his intentions to become a published author, despite the rejection letters and frustrations along the way. The authors issue the call to action in writing down something we’ve felt compelled to do, and then pursuing it.

National Ice Cream Sandwich Day takes me back to my childhood on a day when I was visiting my grandparents in Blackshear, Georgia. We lived on St. Simon’s Island, about an hour and a half away, so we visited them frequently on weekends. Meema Jones, as we lovingly called our mother’s mother, always had a box of ice cream sandwiches waiting for my brother and me in the freezer. Like most grandmothers, she knew how to coax hugs and spoil us with sweets. It worked.

Until the day that we pulled into the driveway and I fled the backseat and made a beeline straight for the freezer without a greeting hug. My mother, right on my heels, took the ice cream sandwich away from me and refused to let me have it. She made me go back and greet my grandmother since I had clearly gotten my priorities out of order. I still didn’t get an ice cream sandwich on that particular visit, because I had to learn my lesson.

My intention was not to hurt my grandmother’s feelings, but by losing sight of the giver and going straight for the gift, that’s exactly what I had done. I had to set things straight, and that one life lesson five decades ago has stayed with me, reminding me to give forethought to intentions and unintended consequences of situations before I go bumbling in and making a mess of things.

I love the blurbs of history and evolution of the national days on the calendar as linked above. Today, I’ll enjoy an ice cream sandwich, and I might even hashtag a photo with #IceCreamSandwichDay. But what I certainly won’t forget to do is to be intentional about smiling and saying thank you to the person who serves me, as I bite into the creamy sweetness, remembering the grandmother who introduced me to these delightful dairy desserts – and a mother who showed me what was most important.

Ken and me with our Meema Jones, January 28, 1989

Made with Padlet

3 Replies to “Dictionary for a Better World: Intention in an Ice Cream Sandwich”

  1. Every day last year my co-teacher and I would share the National Day Holiday or several of them each day.. We placed it on the top of our daily learning agenda in our Google Classroom. We’d often create some type of discussion or assignment based on these, what I thought, silly made- up holidays. But our student loved it and always learned something new like what key lime pie is! I loved reading your intention piece and your childhood memory. How lucky you were to have a Meema that spoiled you and a mom who taught you life lessons to help mold you into the thoughtful person you are today. I am feeling this need now to eat an ice cream sandwich! I haven’t eaten one since I was a kid!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kim, what a great story and connection you made to ice cream sandwiches and the intention to live a life more grateful to the giver than a receiver of gifts. I want an ice cream sandwich now, but I didn’t prepare–maybe later this week. Though, ice cream inspired my post today.


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