Monday, July 21, 2014

Celebrate People!

What if everyone was just like you?
Oh, for some, at first thought they would say, "That's the way it SHOULD be! If everyone were like me then the world would be a better place!"
Then, after the laughter of everyone around them began to die down they would likely come to their senses and realize how boring our world would be if that were to happen.
The differences in people is what makes life interesting!
Think about how wonderful these differences really are: the way people dress; the way people talk (both accents and completely different languages); the naturally different colors of people's hair; the UNnatural different colors of people's hair; the different ways that people express happiness and joy as well as sorrow and all of the other emotions and on and on we could go.
What things would YOU add to the list that you appreciate about the way people are different?
Now, let me be upfront and honest here for a moment. I, personally, am not talking about celebrating people that are VULGAR in the way that they talk and even dress, specifically in public. Vulgarity is a CHOICE as well as someone that goes into a public store (uh, like Wal-Mart!) with half of everything that should be "hidden" hanging out all over the place. Dressing inappropriately is a choice as well.  I hope that makes sense and doesn't seem contradictory.
Let me give you a few examples that have caught my attention within the last couple of weeks and even over the past few years.
Just the other day I walked into Wal-Mart and the first thing that caught my eye was a gentleman (probably in his 60's) wearing a dingy "white" t-shirt, BRIGHT yellow shorts  (down to his knees), suspenders and big ol' boots with the tips of his white socks showing out of the top. My first reaction? Honestly? I GOT A BIG OL' GRIN ON MY FACE and thought, "Now, that's just awesome!"
Really, I did. He had, what I assume was his grandson with him, and the two of them were having an enjoyable time at Wal-Mart. The little boy had a big smile on his face the whole time. Now then, would I wear that to Wal-Mart? Uh, I WANT to say that I wouldn't but, at the same time, with my grandkids, there is no limit to what I may do to put a smile on their face (before they get to the age that they get embarrassed too easily).
Another situation was when I was at the Dani Johnson event in San Antonio and I was parking my car in a paid parking lot to walk to the event location. I had parked there the day before (on a Sunday) and had paid $7 for all day up until 7:00 p.m. This was a Monday and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the cost was only $5 for parking!
As I pulled in and prepared to pay the little old lady that was there with a man that I assumed to be her husband, she asked me if I would be back by 6:00 p.m. I told her "no" because I knew the event was scheduled to go until that time. She informed me that I would need to pay $10 then because the ticket was only good until 6:00 p.m.
Now, you can go back and read the last article and listen to the last podcast to see that sometimes I have a problem being impatient with situations such as this. I wish I could tell you that I was pleasant when she told me that but, I really wasn't. I wasn't "nasty" but I snipped, "well, I'll just make sure that I'll be back by 6:00. That's ridiculous! It was good until 7:00 yesterday!" To which the lady told me that was because it was the weekend.
Her husband began talking to her in Spanish and, even thought I didn't understand what he said, I'm sure it was something about me and the way I was behaving. As I put my window up and preceded to park I thought, "Mike, what in the world are you doing? Why are you behaving this way? That's NOT how you should treat people and that is NOT how you need to begin this day or theirs!" So, when I got out of my car I asked them what I needed to do to make sure I was not going to get towed after 6:00 and I got the ticket that I needed and put in on the dashboard of my car.
As I got to this couple on my way out of the lot I stopped and began to talk to them. I said something expressing my hope that they did not have to sit out in the sun all day long and, immediately, big smiles can upon both of their faces! They assured me that they could go inside the little shack on the lot that had an air conditioner. I asked them how long they had been doing this work and they told me that they had been doing this for 45 years! He then excitedly started asking me to guess his wife's age (I'm terrible with that and wouldn't touch that with a 10-ft. pole anyway!) and told me she was in her mid-70's as was he. I talked to them for a couple of more minutes and the three of us parted with smiles on our faces and happy hearts.
What a difference from where I allowed it to begin just a few short minutes before.
One last example and then I'll let you absorb and allow this to "simmer" in the "pot" of your mind...
A few years ago my wife and I were out on my motorcycle on the way to some event when we stopped at a gas station to refuel and to stretch a little. When I walked in I noticed a "biker" with a long pony-tail and patches all over his vest. I saw his wife as well and didn't even glance at her because I knew that, with some bikers - the "hard core" kind - that act, alone, could get you into some serious trouble.
As luck would have it, I ended up right behind him in line to check out. I wasn't going to look at him or attempt to speak to him when he turned around (after completing his transaction) and asked me how I was doing. Stunned, I stammered, "I'm fine and you?". His answer? "I'M BLESSED, THANK YOU."
It was if my eyes were opened and I noticed that all of the patches on his vest were "religious" patches and that he actually had a very kind face.
Wow, Mike, you blew that one BIG TIME!
I had judged this man on how he looked and the fact that he rode a motorcycle (uh, I was on one, too). What a lesson I RE-learned that day.
When you find that your first reaction is to condemn, criticize and judge, TAKE ANOTHER LOOK and see if you can't SMILE and be thankful that we are not all the same.
Think about those in your life that are close to you (family and friends) and smile as you think about how different each one is and what differences make them so special in your life.
Enjoy your day and, as you do so, be sure to....
"Make it an AWESOME day! (Who else is going to do it for you?)"

                                        Begin Your Better Life Here!

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