Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You Get What You Give

Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook or (significantly less likely) in one of my circles on Google+ know that for Lent my three-year old son and I are doing a good deed for each of the 40 days. So far we’ve done something as small as helping grandma with a project she’s working on to giving a flower to a stranger outside of a grocery store.

I’ve had a couple of people tell me they like the fact I’m doing something for Lent rather than giving something up and a few have asked me where I got the idea.

The idea came from a Jewish sports writer, Jeff Pearlman. He got the idea from editing a rough draft of a book for a friend of his. His friend’s father is suffering from ALS and his honor, decided to give one gift a day for 64 days (his father’s age) to a stranger. Pearlman’s wife was so moved by the idea that their family has committed to doing at least one good deed a week for a year. Inspired by that idea, I adapted it for Lent. (His post can be found here.)

We’re only a week into it, and it’s been extremely rewarding. Even though my son is shy and doesn’t always show excitement when he’s doing whatever it is we’re doing, as soon as we get back to the car, he’s got a smile a mile wide, which coincidently, is the way he describe how nice it is to do something for someone else.

To be honest, it’s a lot harder to come up with good deeds a three-year old can do than I thought it would be. But the challenge of it and the reward we get from it makes the effort worthwhile. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Smile on your brother

Not my groundskeeper
I don't know his name. I really don't know anything about him. For all I know he goes home and conducts experiments on mice that will eventually lead to Pinky and The Brain being considered a prophecy instead of a cartoon. But for about two minutes each day, the groundskeeper at the park makes my day.

While there are a great number of things that, well, suck about being unemployed, one thing that doesn't is the time to take a walk when most people are working. So every morning after I drop the little guy off at pre-school, I head out to Mill Creek Park to take a 2.5 mile walk around 8:15 a.m. And every morning, this affable groundskeeper is there, dutifully doing his job to keep it nice and clean.

But every time I walk past him (which is only twice, three times at most), he gives me a hearty smile, a sincere wish that I have a good day, and, lately, wishes to stay warm.

I have no idea what this guy does for the rest of the day, or even if he's as jovial the rest of the day. Maybe he's just a morning person who uses up all his positive energy by lunch time and by the afternoon is a sullen, grumpy, bitter man. Who knows? All I know is the times I walk by, he's everything you'd want a groundskeeper to be.