(This is one of my first posts and I feel humbled and proud that my boys have honored the wishes set forth below since the day I first shared it with them)
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you. ” – Princess Diana
So now I’m going to ask you boys for something which is less a request and more of a challenge and test. In a way it’s something you owe yourselves as part of a discovery of who you are and how others see you and/or may be affected by you. At a minimum after all I’ve written and hopefully assisted you with, this is something that you owe me.
Life has a funny way of working out but many things are not really random. It can be excellent at times and others, well not so much. Our ability to make an average day better from our own efforts is not something we should take for granted when we boil it down to its basics. The best part of our day and overall existence should not be the greatest gifts we receive but the simplest gifts we give and just maybe, create for others.
You boys by virtue of being athletes, relatively easy on the eyes, personable, charming, fairly witty, etc., consequently may fall into the “popular” and “admired” categories, at least in the high and middle school arenas. All of this changes in the college settings where you can get overlooked in a larger population and the grading scale of success is different.
So take this time to use this aspect of your status to reach out to those who would never imagine that you would even acknowledge them. They are no less important than those you regularly interact with and importantly, can add a new dimension to your emerging interpersonal skills by exploring their own unique and distinctive attributes. You just might be surprised that by performing this simple act of altruism, you may expand your understanding of your infinite coexistence with a few of the 7 billion people on this planet.
This is a perfect time to attempt to figuratively “touch someone” in an unexpected and meaningful fashion because of the daily paths you cross in your school communities. When you get older and in your professional world, you will meet a lot of people who you are essentially required to interact with, and consequently it’s financially beneficial to excel in that capacity. But how authentic are those interactions when the objectives are more self-serving than a genuine extension of the best of who you are. It’s no excuse, just the frequent trap that engulfs us. It’s unfortunate to find that we ignore the opportunities, either due to the hectic pace or schedule of our days, to slow down and capitalize on the random lives that we can affect or be affected by.
So my challenge is to make a simple attempt this next week (or longer) to acknowledge the unlikeliest of suspects whether it be another student, teacher, staff member, janitor, acquaintance, etc., who may fall outside your normal social sphere and would least expect it – I’m sure you can think of a few people who fall in that category. Take an extra few seconds to just say “hi” or “how are you” to that person and pay attention to the response, if any, and do it at least one more time in the upcoming days. If done only once, it can be construed as a fluke or aberration. Importantly, initiate the encounter and use the person’s name, look at them, smile, and again at a minimum, wait for some sort of response and then take it however you wish from there. Don’t think about it too much – just try it because there’s no reason not to and you might find a surprising return on the investment.
I’m not asking you to adopt my routine because frankly, you probably think I’m nuts! I have the time, desire, and my own personal objectives which essentially involve gratitude for where I’m at and where I want my soul to remain. Some might think I reach out to so many random individuals outside of my comfort zone for attention but that’s where they’d be mistaken. My intention has never been to draw attention to myself (although that’s often the outcome), but to give my attention to those around me who deserve or maybe could just use it. In the end though, I know that I benefit from it in too many ways to count and describe in detail.
All of our lives offer so many unnoticed and undiscovered things which really take little awareness to uncover. Sometimes we get so locked inside our routines to appreciate what’s in front of us because we think external demands and distractions insist upon it. Let’s be clear – they shouldn’t, they’re really not as significant as you think, and you can control your approach to them, all for the better!
So please be thoughtful in everything you do, and let that also include those who just happen to be part of your surroundings because the opportunities are abundant and shouldn’t be ignored.
And you want to know why it should come easy? Because it’s the way you were raised, it’s who you are, and it honors your parents and those who influenced you to be that way!