Theta Shank is passionate about hospitality and taking care of guests. She and her husband, Terry, serve regularly at a beautiful retreat center in northwest Georgia.
You might also find Theta in her niche, cooking and baking for others and energetically welcoming people into her home, where she loves the laughter that accompanies family and friendship.
Her basic philosophy of Hospitality is that we serve others out of the overflow of our hearts. She shares thoughts about serving weekly, generally on Thursdays.
Daddy's World of Giving
I was spending some time with my dad at his home when he was about 75 years old or so. We were just sitting together sharing a cup of coffee when he said for me to get in the car; we had an errand to run. I was intrigued because he was being a bit vague… but he was truly energetic about this errand and that was contagious. We stopped by the local grocery floral department and he told me to pick out a small potted plant. I asked who the recipient was and he again was vague. Back in the car we traveled just a few miles to a retirement home. When we got there he sent me in with the potted plant to give it away. I asked to whom. He said to whom ever. I approached the front desk nurse and asked her who might need a gift today that would be an encouragement. She immediately knew who and she took me to her: this sweet lady with blue eyes – and blue hair, sitting by a window by herself. She glowed, but never spoke, as I gave her the plant. Soon I found myself back in the car – with tears in my eyes as I looked at Daddy. He responded that it truly is better to give than to receive, isn’t it. I asked how often he ran this errand. He said every few weeks – and had been doing this for years. That day he brought me into his world of giving. I’ll not ever forget it.
Creating Emotional Connection
I recently heard of a high-end hotel that welcomes pets. Huge plus! Upon check-in, the guest is asked if he/she brought a pet. If the guest didn’t the hotel staffer offers one. Yes, you read right. They offer one: a goldfish. The guest is told they don’t have to feed the fish. The only thing required is to name the fish. When the guest gets to their room the fish is there with a blank nameplate – awaiting the guest’s creativity! So then, at the next stay the guest is asked would they like the same pet, and they refer to the name you gave the fish! Now isn’t that fun! An extra touch to create a memory. Think out of the bowl, I mean box! How can you create an emotional connection with your guest/client today?
Be Kind Check List
Here’s a Kindness Check List for the New Year… Once a week, or more often, be kind. 1 Peter 2:3: “Taste the kindness of the Lord.” When we’re kind to others, we taste the Lord’s kindness to us!
- Pay it forward – cover someone’s meal in a drive-thru.
- Send a handwritten note and a “care package” to one our American soldiers.
- Praise a store clerk to their manager.
- Give a big tip at a restaurant.
- Intentionally speak life to a child.
- Donate blood.
- Take a gift to the owner of my favorite restaurant.
- Keep bottled water handy to give to those needing refreshing.
- Leave a note of encouragement on a fellow employee’s desk.
- Take a meal to someone in need.
- Baby sit for someone who cannot afford a babysitter.
- Tangibly celebrate another’s accomplishment.
- When running errands make it a point to hold the door open for others.
- Smile & greet all strangers you meet.
- Sending an actual birthday card to someone…..family & friends ….instead of a FB post or a text!!
- How about ask a neighbor if she needs anything at the grocery store since you are going and would be happy to pick up something for her as well?
- How about asking the teacher that you know if you can come in and read? The children often appreciate a new face in the classroom.
- Park away from a building so others can have the prime, close up spots. They may never know you did it for them, but they don’t have to.
- Take a gift to the owner of a restaurant…how about the cooks and servers? They are the ones that do most of the work and don’t get the kudos, (especially the cooks).
- Let someone go ahead of you in a drive through, parking lot or in traffic.
- Give a couple of dollars, but especially encouragement to someone asking for money on the side of the road. You never know when you are entertaining angels.
- Volunteer at a local shelter or serve a meal at a holiday.
- “Everyone has a Story” Intentionally try to see another person’s story and give them encouragement or help. This can be with co-workers or just someone in the grocery store.
- Smile at strangers and say hello. Acknowledge them. (similar to # 14 – worth repeating!)
- While babysitting for someone who can’t afford a babysitter, see if you can take the child to the park or Bouncin’ Beans or some other children’s fun place. Mom may not be able to afford this and it would mean the world to her and to the child to have the experience.
- Be intentional in sending handwritten notes or cards when you hear a praise or prayer request.
- Give someone else the credit.
- Pick up plates and trash from tables when least expected.
- Listen to conversations and what is important to others and then later ask them about what is important in their lives. Be genuinely interested.
- If someone says they like something of yours…give it to them.
- Sit with someone so that their caretaker can have a break.
- Visit with someone in the hospital who has no family.
- Carry food gift cards to randomly give out to those in need.
- Put gas in someone else’s vehicle.
- Take a lonely widow or widower to breakfast or lunch.
- Help a single mother with buying gifts for Christmas or a birthday
- Give a gift of appreciation to your mail-person or other service provider.
- How about posting the Ephesians 4:32 scripture “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” someplace daily visible? (Mine is posted in my sewing room).
- Smile a lot! (repeat of #14)
- Forgive someone or a debt and never mention it again.
- Put your phone away!
- Give someone some slack.
- If you get a new piece of clothing, donate an old one.
- Don’t interrupt while someone else is speaking.
- Keep an extra umbrella at work to lend. (although using an umbrella in Seattle identifies tourists!) Ha!
- Pick up a piece of litter every time you see one.
- Edify someone! Say something positive to another person about someone within their earshot.
- Remember people’s pet’s names.
- Encourage a leader at a high level and thank them for all they do, let them know how much you appreciate working for them.
- Remember to thank those who are cleaning, taking out trash, doing maintenance and mowing at your work and at the places you frequently go.
- Do something for those who always do things for you.
- Be present and authentic in your interactions with others, make eye contact and show you care.
- BONUS: Tell a teenager they are awesome and you appreciate them, maybe even take them out for a treat.