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Small Gestures

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school.  His name was Kyle.  It looked like he was carrying all of his books.  I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday?  He must really be a nerd.  I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him.  They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt.  His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him.  He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes.  My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.

As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks.  They really should get lives.” He looked at me and said, “Hey thanks!”  There was a big smile on his face.  It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.  I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived.  As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before.

He said he had gone to private school before now.  I would have never hung out with a private school kid before.  We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books.  He turned out to be a pretty cool kid.  I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends.  He said yes. We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again.  I stopped him and said, “Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!”  He just laughed and handed me half of the books.  Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends.  When we were seniors, we began to think about college.

Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke.  I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem.  He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship.  Kyle was valedictorian of our class.  I teased him all the time about being a nerd.  He had to prepare a speech for graduation.  I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak.

On Graduation day, I saw Kyle.  He looked great.  He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school.  He filled out and actually looked good in glasses.  He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him.  Boy, sometimes I was jealous.  Today was one of those days.

I could see that he was nervous about his speech.  So, I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!”  He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled.  “Thanks,” he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began “Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years.  Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach…but mostly your
friends…I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them.  I am going to tell you a story.”

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met.  He had planned to kill himself over the weekend.  He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home.  He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.  “Thankfully, I was saved.  My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.”

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment.  I saw his Mom and Dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile.  Not until that moment did I realize it’s depth.  Never underestimate the power of your actions.  With one small gesture you can change a person’s life.  For better or for worse.  God puts us all in each other’s lives to impact one another in some way.  Look for God in others.

“Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.”  There is no beginning or end.  Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is a gift.

I did not, I repeat, I did not write this story but I did want to share it with each of you because it is one that may touch you or a loved one the way it touched me.  You see, I was that glasses wearing nerd in high school.  And even though I was tall and athletic, I lacked confidence and self-esteem at that time in my life and know that I am not alone in that respect.  It is my sincere hope that you will share this with a friend as my best friend once shared this with me.  Thank you.

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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Life, Love, Relationships, Religion

 

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Simplify Your Life

I week from now I will be one year older and I’m not sure how much wiser.  Here is what I do know that I have learned over my 44 years of life…people are simple.  You can put everyone that you encounter, everyone that you know into one of two categories, “Can’t Do or Won’t Do.”

This is something that I picked up in my former corporate life as a leader of people.  What I found is that everyone I interviewed, everyone that I worked with or who worked for me would fit into one of these two categories.  One is good to have in your circle and unfortunately one is bad for you and your life pursuits.

I will tell you about the “Can’t Do” person first because this is the type of individual that you will want to have on your team, as a friend and ultimately as a mate.  Of course the family members who don’t fall into the “Can’t Do” category you just have to find a way to limit the access that you give them to your life…sorry.  The “Can’t Do” person is simply someone who may or may not be capable of doing what you ask them to do but is more than willing to learn.  That person just needs to be told or shown what it is you need and then they magically transform into someone who can and will do what is required.

When you are a leader in your chosen profession you will need to build your team and or department with “Can’t Do” types of people because the more of them that you find the easier your job of leading them will be.  Just imagine how simple life can be when all you have to do is show your team how it’s done and then let them out into the world to be productive.

The benefits of having these same types of people as friends or as a mate or spouse is obvious.  Just imagine you had a friend who invited you over to their home for dinner.  Because of health concerns, you need some adjustments made to the food that will be served that evening.  The type of friend that you need in this instance is one where making a change to your entrée begins as a “Can’t Do” but ends as a can do/will do.

The person that you need to identify as quickly as possible is the “Won’t Do” person.  This individual knows exactly what you want done, exactly what is required and just refuses to do it.  Just imagine you were forming a basketball team at the gym or the office.  And right before you were going to pick a person they said, “hey, I’m not going to dribble, I’m not going to pass and I’m not going to shoot the basketball.”  Is there any way in hell you still go ahead and pick this person?  The truth is we do it all the time and then we suffer for it and then we ask ourselves how did this happen.

Take a moment right now to make an inventory of the relationships in your life and ask yourself how many “Won’t Do” people do I have there.  When you think about it, these individuals have no positive existence in your life and if you cannot eliminate them totally from your life you should, at the very least, limit their access to your everyday world.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in Business, Life, Relationships, Sports

 

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