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When I'm With You
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Photo: Jenny Erickson
As part of an assignment for a doctoral dissertation, a university student spent a year with a group of Navajos on a reservation in the American Southwest. As he did his research, he lived with one family, sleeping in their hogan, eating their food, working with them, and generally experiencing the life of a present-day Native American.

The old grandmother of the family spoke no English at all, yet a close friendship developed between the two. They spent a great deal of time together, sharing a friendship that was meaningful to each yet unexplainable to anyone else. In spite of the language barrier, they shared the common language of love and understood each other.

Over the months, the researcher learned a few phrases of Navajo, and the grandmother, a little English. When it was time for him to return to the campus and write his dissertation, the tribe held a going-away celebration. It was marked by sadness since the young man had become close to the whole village and all would miss him.

As the young man prepared to get into the pickup truck and leave, the old woman came to tell him goodbye. With tears streaming from her eyes, she placed her hands on either side of his face, looked directly into his eyes, and said, “I like me best when I’m with you!”

Bringing Out the Best in Others

Is that the way you feel in the presence of your wife or husband? Does she or he bring out the best in you to make you like yourself more? More important, do you bring out he best in her or him? And how about your friends, your co-workers, even the bag boy at the grocery store—are they better people for being around you?

We should bring out the best in each other. Our self-esteem depends not on what we have done or failed to do, but on the value others place on us and the value we place on them.

Could someone else say to us, “I like me best when I’m with you?”

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By Robert Clements. Reprinted with persmission from Signs of the Times, September 2006. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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