One day I asked my sister about her childhood. You might think it a funny question, considering we grew up in the same house. But her recollection of growing up is so different than mine — the people who influenced her life were different than mine; and the experiences that she had growing up were different than mine. What is similar about our childhood is that we each had people who made a difference in our lives.
I think of a friend of mine telling me how his grandmother gave him his first trombone when he was 15 and it changed his life.
I think of my next door neighbor who taught a 10 year-old with cerebral palsy how to swing a bat. The boy's name was Norman and he became a successful and vibrant member of our world.
I think of the teenager down the street who taught a skinny kid with braces — me — how to dance.
I think of our neighbor who laced up my skates one cold winter day and held my hand as we sped across the lake. While sitting on a plane last week, I read about a new skating rink opening up in Houston. Oh my gosh, I thought, next week I'll be in Houston! I must go there. The memories of skating and the frigid cold were in front of me as if it were yesterday. Who could I go with though? It'd be a shame to go alone.
I shared my thoughts during a seminar when a young woman by the name of Annette said, I’ve never been, I would love to go! Two hours later we were laced up in rented skates for our first trip around the rink. I watched as she held on to the side of the rink laughing and then as she ventured out with her arms flapping like a small bird about to venture out of the nest. As her confidence increased she darted off across the rink, yelling, I’m going to take my nieces! I thought suddenly of the movie “Pay it Forward.” Maybe life isn’t that complicated… A series of events linked together by emotion. Time with friends, family, children, and lovers creating memorable experiences.
What will make a difference this holiday season… more stuff? Please, no more sweaters!
How about the look of delight on someone’s face as you laugh and create a new experience; the look on your own face as you share that experience; taking the hand of a small child as you take a ride on the bus; a dinner with friends to celebrate good food and the gifts of the past year; delivering a dinner to a shelter; rescuing an animal from the cold.
We don’t realize how much we influence the lives of others. It could be your neighbor, the 16 year-old kid who works on Saturday in your warehouse, or simply a stranger. All of us have the ability to change a life for the better. All of us are looked up to by someone.
You probably won’t have to think hard or too long to determine what you can do this holiday season. Let me know what you’ve done this holiday season, send the photos and we’ll post them.
Hey did I say my amazing dancing friends dragged me out to learn to Salsa last night?