Lately, I’ve been feeling like a tittle. If you’re wondering what a tittle is, you’re not alone.
Tittle is a big word for that little dot that tops the small vowel “i”.
I never would’ve learned the word if I wasn’t teaching language learners in Asia, in an tittle sized village of six million people.
A tittle may seem like an insignificant fleck of ink, definitely when compared to the curves and complicated strokes of fancy capital letters.
Think of John Hancock’s signature. It was so pompous, it overshadowed the other names on the Declaration of Independence.
That included Josiah Bartlett, a distant relative that my father got his middle name from. I always thought my dad was named after a pear.
But now, even our signatures have become tittles. Thumbprints or a magnetic swipe of a card are more important than our names.
Tween girls don’t believe in tittles. They often replace their tittles with baby “o”s.
So what do you do on those days when you feel like just a dot of ink on top of an “i” instead of a someone titillating?
Start by forgetting the “i” word completely, and think of others instead.
Find someone you owe a big thanks to and write them a letter. Thirty years after I cleaned out my desk and erased the top of all pencil marks, I wrote my fifth grade teacher a letter. I thanked her for her encouraging words, letting her know they were morsels of confidence at a time my self esteem was pretty thin.
The craziest thing is, my teacher wrote me back. When I saw her handwriting on a little envelope in the mail, sandwiched between bills and coupons ads, I was afraid to open it. Maybe my teacher found a grammar error in one of my coupon ads. Or maybe I never passed fifth grade after all. So with my trembling fingers, I opened up the letter. It began:
Of course I remember you. Thank you…”
Remember no tittle is too little.
God used tittles in the Bible, many whose names aren’t even in the book. That’s like working on a Hollywood feature and not getting mentioned in the credits at the end. But this nameless girl changed the life of a leper named Naaman. “What’s her name” told Naaman’s wife about the prophet Elisha, whom God had given the gift of healing. If that little tittle kept her little mouth shut, Naaman would never have been healed.
Dot your day with a random act of kindness.
Buy someone a donut. Give cuts in the check out line. Make a batch of cookies. You know the drill. But if you really got a bad case of the tittles, here’s something that will cure them every time. Go into a public john, pick a clean stall and remove the toilet paper from the stalls on both sides of you. Then sit on that Porcelain throne and wait. Sooner or later, a hand will reach under that wall, and that person will be ever so thankful that you were to hand them toilet paper back.
So remember…it’s the little tittles in the world that make a big difference.
After all, we keep pie from turning into pee.