Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Living the thankful life

Sometimes a memory just sticks with you, and we don't get to select the ones that do.  

I think all the time back to a day in the early 90's.  I would go now and then to talk to the kids in a Head Start program run by my friend Sue.  Head Start is a good idea for promoting the success and well-being of families, and it's helped lots of kids get on the road to competing in school and in life.  Not every child has the same advantages that many of us enjoyed in the early days, and it's for the good of all of us to give everyone a leg up on achievement. I pulled out the bag o' tricks for these kids. I still remember making our little egg heads.  I saved a few eggshells, we filled them with potting soil and added grass seed, and presto! homemade Chia pets.

I don't feel guilty about coming from a privileged background, but on the other hand, I never take for granted the things that have come my way just by being born into a family best described as "comfortable."  Lucky in life, lucky in love, as they say. Cosmic forces from the planet Lovetron sent Peggy my way when I was a roguish 21-year-old, thus assuring me a daily cornucopia of love and laughter that continues to this day.

Something else that continues: the reminders to be grateful.  Back to the Head Start classroom, I was down there with the kids when they were all putting on their coats to go outside for playtime.  A little girl walked up to me with her little white coat in her hand, which is kidspeak for "Please help me put this on!" so I held it out for her little arms, and she said, "How do you like my new coat, mister? I just got it!"

And the smile on her face and the gleam of pride in her eyes just melted this old man right on the spot, for the coat was obviously old, somewhat tattered, and could have used a good turn at the dry-cleaner.  But, in a country in which some spoiled teenagers publicly complain that their parents gave them the wrong color Mercedes SUV or last-year's iPhone or a "stupid local"  Sweet Sixteen, instead of one on the beach at Ibiza, I saw real gratitude, true thankfulness, in the face of little girl who knew that a cold winter was coming, and she had a warm coat to fend it off.  

She also had, has, a warm heart, too.  I have no idea where the little girl with the coat is today, but something tells me she's doing all right for herself, because she was proud that she had that white coat.  She would be old enough to have her own kids by now, if that was her choice, and let's hope they're just as happy with their gifts as their mom was.


Sue said...

And I am thankful that you were a special part of our classroom my friend. The children were so fascinated by your height I think that was the cutest thing when they just followed your legs up to your head with their eyes and just stared! You gave your time and your heart to my young friends making their day a little brighter and full of wonder. A positive male influence in their lives even if it was only for a few hours here and there truly made a difference. Thank you again for being you Mark. Love ya bunches.... Sue

Mark said...

The pleasure was all mine, Sue! Continued blessings to you and yours! Love you always...MC