I would like to encourage you to show kindness today, even when you have a right to be upset. Be slow to respond if it means speaking a hurtful word, no matter how justified. Show love to someone today who needs it, even if they show anger to you.
All of these are extremely difficult at times, but they also make a life sweeter. It’s not just the effects they have on others, but the effect kindness has on you. It may make you pause before causing harm, which leads to guilt, and gives way to regret.
A word evaluated is much easier to stop, than a word spoken is to take back. A pause when angry is as valuable as gold. So my prayer for you, and for me this Friday, is that we focus, not on the irritations, but on the joys.
What skill do you have that may help someone else? It might be as simple as knowing how to properly wash dishes quickly. As simple as that sounds, when I was a young man working late at the pizza place, trying to clean cheese tubs, it would have been worth its weight in gold. I would have happily listened to someone who knew, instead I had to learn on my own.
There’s nothing wrong with that, it has its benefits, but finding an article, or a bit of information left by someone else doesn’t hamper that. In fact it encourages it. It’s my belief that every person has a bit of knowledge or wisdom about something, that someone else doesn’t.
In this day and age, it’s so easy to share your voice. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, some of the arguments we see online were replaced by articles where people share some skill, or experience they’ve had, rather than an opinion? People don’t always need to know what I think, but a skill, or experience I’ve had, may help someone else.
It could be as simple as when to add salt to your pasta water when making spaghetti, or as big as how you chose between two majors in college. Or how you paid your way through college. Someone needs, not my views on everything, but our experiences in a few specific things.
I challenge you to think of two things today you know that were useful to your younger self, and share them, minus a viewpoint or opinion. Let the skill, wisdom, or knowledge stand on its own unfiltered. You never know where it will land. In fact, you may never learn who you’ve impacted, but if you don’t share it, it can’t grow beyond you.
A soldier, two inventors, a former tutor, and men with stars in their eyes, made up our Founding Fathers. Men who saw a need, and despite the personal cost, and an uncertain outcome, they chose to fight for what they believed in.
They undertook tasks they had never attempted, and succeeded. Because they succeeded, others pursued their dreams. Proving that liberty was not only worth pursuing, but a sacred duty, to work towards.
America’s fighting spirit, her quest for freedom, and our hope for a better life, was born in the hearts of these men. We talk a lot about the 4th of July, but these men rolled up their sleeves the day after, and went into battle. They began the journey which transformed thirteen colonies into fifty states.
No, he wasn’t at the first Fourth, but he did carry the baton of freedom passed down from men like Washington. What’s more, he left his impression on our country as well, when he handed it to the next one to carry. Today we celebrate all things America, from generation to generation, and sea to shining sea!
I always go back to Valley Forge, and later, to Independence Hall. To me those two locations, those two periods of time, define the Fourth. Cold, ill equipped men, somehow became the heroes of the revolution. Later, Washington who had led them into battle, guided them into freedom.
Farmers, surveyors, book sellers, and merchants, signed documents like the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. Men, not of royal blood, endangered their lives, for the promise of a new way. Some shed that, common, yet noble blood, for us.
Because of their sacrifice, others would fight the Civil War to eradicate slavery. Because of their example, later mechanics, salesmen, and shopkeepers would fight a World War defending freedom. The next generation would fight a mad man to dispel the darkness of Nazism.
Every generation of Americans have had both battles, and heroes. From Desert Storm to Kabul, and beyond, Americans have volunteered to stand for Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit Of Happiness. The clothes change, the hairstyles are different, but there are still Washington’s and Lincoln’s on the Earth.
Whether from Kansas, Connecticut, or Texas, they will still face the harsh cold realities they must, to preserve liberty. They do so, in order that Americans can come together as the Founders came together at Independence Hall. Choosing the peaceful government of an independent nation, a free people, and a country most definitely blessed by God!
Today, our son Nicholas, is three months old. So much has happened in that time period, and it’s been one of the greatest times of our lives. There is so much we don’t know, and truly, we’ll be learning how to be parents, at different stages, for the rest of our lives. What we do know is, being Nicholas’ parents has made us the happiest people in the world.
I don’t have any profound thoughts on parenthood, or anything like that. I’m just grateful, thankful, and overjoyed that I can say I’m his Dad. My prayer is, I that we can teach him to love God, those around him, and to make a difference. God gave him to us, through very precious people, and we know he is a extra special baby! #proudnewparents #adoption #babyjoy
In 1948, the LP or Long Playing record was introduced. We call it the Vinyl album today, and while it’s going through a resurgence, most people don’t have one. Oh we may know what it is, we may have heard one, but we probably don’t own one.
Of course we could. Amazon has them, so does Wal-Mart. You can buy them at Barnes & Noble. Maybe it’s because music isn’t our interest. Perhaps it’s that we won’t something that plays longer than 22 minutes on each side. The quantity of music may pack more power than the quality of an LP, although it’s still rumored to be superior than an MP3.How many things in our life are similar to this? What better thing are we not pursuing because what we have is good enough? What dreams are we not pursuing because we are happy to keep it as just a dream. I admit I’ve been guilty of enjoying the romanticizing of a dream more than the pursuit of making it a reality. The same year the LP came out, Israel declared its independence. David Ben-Gurion became Prime Minister. Both of these events occurred because someone transitioned from dreaming about it, to pursuing it. Because they did, Israel stands to this day.Some dreams, such as a clumsy person like me being a trapeze artist, should stay a dream. Other dreams, like pursuing something that, while difficult, would benefit the lives of others, are worth pursuing. You have to know which dream is worth the struggle. Once you’ve determined that it is worth fighting for, then the question is how to fight the battle strategically.A dream may be conceived without form, but for it to be birthed, it must have legs and lungs. Legs to run the course, and lungs to give it the breath needed to accomplish the task. Once birthed, like any child, it must be nourished and nurtured. One day it will produce great sounds, one day it may grow into a nation, but first, it has to grow from today to tomorrow. If your dream is the type that must be, then today, start plotting the steps needed to make it a reality. Ask yourself the tough questions about the time, and cost. If you still feel this is what is yours to do, take the small steps now. The big ones will come later. An one day, like the LP, and David Ben-Gurion, you too may impact millions.
Why Batman? A lot of people know my fondness for things relating to a certain Caped Crusader, and probably think It curious. No, I’m not going to go philosophical over a comic book character, but it’s an interesting question.
As a child the answer was simply, he’s cool. I think though what I admire is deeper than that as an adult. For all the flash, the Dark Knight hype, and the rest, it is something more.
Though he’s my favorite, my favorite trait is true of all my childhood heroes. No matter the obstacle, no matter the actor who plays him, or the writer who scripts it, one thing stays the same. He tries to do what is right, and to protect the innocent.
Whether it’s Batman, Spiderman, or Superman, they all put others first, regardless of the cost. Through mistakes, hurt, even loss, they try. It’s usually the opposite of easy. In fact difficult is their normal, in the form of waddling masterminds, crazed clowns, and egomaniacal villains.
The real heroes in my life dress less colorfully, but they too, strive to do what’s right every day. They’re not rich billionaire playboys, but they have something in common with my favorite crime fighter. They have the character, and consistency that never takes a vacation.
I see in them, the qualities I work towards in myself. Like Robin, I aspire to what I see modeled for me. I’m no Batman, but if I can follow in their steps, I can be something better.
I can be a true hero. One who watches not for a spotlight over a city, but the signals of the needs around them each day. Why do I like Batman, because he’s cool, but not nearly as cool as my real heroes.