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Saturday, February 23, 2013

With these few words...

A few years ago I was on my way to work at a temporary labor and office agency.  I was walking down a flight of stairs and my mind was completely occupied. I was thinking about the day ahead of me—what positions were needing to be filled, and how many interviews would be generated from the want ads placed in that Sunday’s newspaper. I was going into work mode, complete with a serious fa├žade.
A man was walking up the stairs in the opposite direction. I barely noticed him, until he stopped on the stair and said to me with a bright smile “Good morning, I’m thinking this and I’m just going to say it -- you look nice today!” He said this without being salacious, and he seemed genuine.
 I smiled in return and kept heading down the stairs. I looked at the dress I was wearing, a bold red striped dress, one of my favorites. I was touched that he made a sweet compliment. Throughout that whole day, no matter what pressures were at the office, I had an inward smile due to his kind words. To this day, I still remember his comment and how it made me feel.
From that point forward, I make it a point to pass on genuine compliments to people I knew and when the timing is right, to total strangers.  Sometimes I get a mumbled thank you, but most of the time it opens up a friendly dialogue.
I guess I want to pass along the good feeling that stranger’s comment accomplished so many years ago.
Isn’t it amazing how someone’s kind random comment can turn your day around? Have you paid someone a random compliment today

Sunday, February 10, 2013

After a bit of time...

Months ago, after watching the news about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, I was definitely shaken up. I was brokenhearted when I learned that the principle heard the gunshots and ran out unarmed to protect the kids. I was deeply saddened to see the reports of the children ending their brief lives in the classrooms. Then, other reports began to emerge—ones of heroic teachers helping their class escape the bedlam. Then there were other inspiring reports of teachers having the presence of mind to barricade themselves with their class. These brave teachers kept the children calm, insisting that the “good guys” would come and kept their spirits up by singing songs.
 Since I’m a parent, the instant I heard of this horrible news, I’m not ashamed to say I had to fight the overwhelming urge to hold my son out of school the next day.  Try as I might, this nagging question “What if this happened to my child?” scratched and clawed at my brain, insisting on being answered.
I forced myself to think logically. It would do none of us good to let this irrational impulse to take over. With a knot in my stomach, I had to admit I could not be with my son 24/7, no matter how much I want to be.  Facing this irrefutable truth made me remember his teachers throughout his years at school. As I took stock, I came to realize that the majority of his teachers treated him with extreme kindness. In Middle School, both Mrs L and Ms M treated him like he was part of their family. Ms B loved his sense of humor that science became his favorite subject. Now in High School, his teachers all know him and appreciate him in their classes and miss him when he’s absent.  Mr D wrote a wonderful recommendation letter for him. In a parent/teacher conference Mrs B when introduced to me immediately said he was one of her favorite students.
Would any one of them risk life and limb to protect him, like the brave souls from Sandy Hook Elementary faculty?  I feverously hope and pray we won’t be faced with that challenge.  However, I can definitely take comfort by knowing he is a valued member of their classes and when I’m not there, he is well taken care of.