Gratitude: Little Things Add Up

Let’s just say I’m grateful for all the kind notes and responses to this blog. When you put yourself, your life and your thoughts out there, you never know if people are going to relate or want to throw tomatoes at you. To know that I’m making people think about their own lives and possibly evoke change for the better makes me feel happy.

I’ve found in looking at my life, the little things add up to how much I’ve improved at the way I look at the world and handle things around me. One of my classmates Lori may not remember this incident in junior high, but I recall this having a profound effect on my world.

During math class in the seventh grade, a lot of the students were having troubles learning about some of the early algebra concepts. Early in my academic life, math was a subject that came very easy to me- so teachers would assign me books above and beyond what the class would be learning. By the time I was in the 5th grade, I was completing 8th grade math on my own.

Even if others wanted to answer questions in class, I always had my hand raised. I wanted to prove to the others how much I knew, and how easy math came to me. What I didn’t realize is that this practice is usually shunned upon by your peers. By being superior, you make others feel inferior.

In the back many of the students would laugh and make fun of me. I didn’t understand completely why- until Lori was kind enough to let me know during a break in the class that, “No one likes a know it all smarty pants who thinks he’s better than everyone else.”

At the time the words hurt- but how right she was. From that point forward I made it a point to do more listening and less talking. I learned that you don’t have to boast about your abilities- as people will notice through your effort, your work ethic and how you carry yourself. I learned it was ok to be confident but unacceptable to be cocky and make others feel worse about themselves because they didn’t get algebra as quickly as I could.

So thank you Lori for humbling me.

I appreciate Chuck Fitzgerald’s musician friend Heather Kovan from Missouri as well, who believed in my music reviewing and interview skills at a time when I was ready to throw in the towel in my early 20’s. She may not remember the one night we went out to Ralph’s Diner in Worcester, MA following a show at O’Brien’s in Allston (I think we went to see Auditory Imagery and Chuck’s old band, Triphammer with Barry S. as their drummer), but she was there to remind me that you don’t give up on special talents that you have in your life. Since I’m not well versed at playing music, I feel that reviewing and interviewing are my ways of contributing to the scene. I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I don’t forsee my critical brain, fingers and thoughts to ever waver to help others make better purchasing decisions.

I thank my mother and father for willingly sacrificing hours of their time to take me to concerts and bowling tournaments. I’m grateful that they’ve been there for some of my best moments at the sport- be it winning college scholarship money or throwing a perfect 300 game.

I’m thankful to my friends far and wide. I may not be able to see you or hear from you as often as I would like, but I know you are there. Our memories and moments never go far away in my mind.

I’m especially grateful for my wife Kandace and my daughters. They’ve taught me compassion, resilience, patience and to battle forward if you have a lifelong commitment that’s worthwhile. You’ve seen me in my happiest times and stay with me through my grumpy days. That’s all a person could ask for.

Look back in your own lives and don’t be afraid to say thank you to someone you haven’t seen or heard from in a while. A little card, a short letter, a quick email or phone call can work wonders for that person. Trust me, the little things can add up.

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