Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's the little things, those tiny moments......

Recently, a friend of mine bought a new car for his son on his 17th birthday.
"He's going to remember this forever," he chortled. Both Father and son were extremely happy, and rightly so.

But would the young man, the receiver of the magnanimous gift remember this forever? Probably.
Would this be the fondest occasion that he would associate his father with over his lifetime? Probably not.

Not?!! What could be more exciting, more thrilling than getting a new car? Well..... think about it...

It's the little things..... the encouraging pat after a tough basketball game.... the enthusiastic thumbs up from the bleachers.... the occasional bear hug for no reason.... the gentle brushing of the forehead to check on your child when he was not well..... never missing a little-league game no matter what... These are the tiny moments that make a huge impact on children.

And this is your legacy for your child. So that they can carry it on to their children in the future. Acts of spontaneous love and kindness, things that you do without giving a second thought... that's what our children will remember.

Spend more time with your children, your family. It might mean living in a smaller house, driving a less fancy car, but it's worth it.

If we mess up our child's nurturing, all the success and money we earn means nothing.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

The "True Friend" question

In our lifetime, if we have one true friend, we got it made. A lot of people complain that they have lot of friends, but not one "true friend".

So that brings us to the obvious question-- Who is a true friend? Is there a "Friendometer" by which you can measure the "trueness" of a friend? Well, a true friend is one who does not have to shout over the din of other friends to make himself or herself heard. He or she understands you, does things for you and DOES NOT expect anything in return. And that basic ingredient of every relationship---trust-- your true friend has to be full of it. Between true friends, trust has to be complete and implicit. If you have to explain yourself to your friend again and again, he or she is really not your true friend. A true friend would never stop you from making new friends, because he or she would be secure of his/her place in your heart. I'm sure I could go on and on, but you get the drift.

But another question-- Do we really need a true friend? What's wrong with a bunch of good friends partying together, vacationing together (and the current male-bonding craze) golfing together? And that's right, maybe having a true friend is over-rated.

But if you search your heart, you will find a vacuum if you don't have one or two "true friends." So I don't think you need a true friend, but it's great if you do have one. Life becomes brighter then, it's more fulfilling, more soulful. It helps if you have one person whom you can open your heart to, and there are absolutely no pretensions, no hang-ups. There is no fear of repercussion, no apprehension of being scorned.

A lot of you might snicker at this philosophical mumbo-jumbo. Tonight when you lay down at night to go to bed, when the lights are out, and the world is quiet, think about it then.

And remember, to find a true friend, first be one.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Where art thou, Courtesy?

I came to the United States of America in 1988, full of hope and high expectations. And America treated me well and is home for me now. And I am proud of the fact that I am a citizen of this great nation. But something has happened in the last 20 years that worries me, pulls me down.

My favorite commercial 20 years ago--- Wells Fargo Bank ( I think), where a couple of horse drawn carriages come up to a crossroad and they politely wait for each other to go first.... and people 20 years ago reflected the same kind of mannerisms and culture in that commercial. And I loved it. Life went along at a slower pace, people smiled more, were more relaxed.

And now fast forward 20 years.... the saleswoman at the mall helped me, but with a frown on her face. Made me feel as if she was doing me a favor.... when I go to work in the morning, a lot of drivers around me are tense-looking..... We hear about aggressive drivers all the time (at least in our metro area)...... People are in a rush, they smile less, have more deadlines to meet....

So what happened since the last 20 years? Maybe it's me, I'm older now (46-- yikes!!). Maybe the passing years have given me a different perspective on life. Maybe I'm taking the time to "smell the roses" now. Was I one of the tense drivers on the morning commute 20 years ago? I just don't know...

But how I miss those days. An act of kindness and courtesy in the morning, something as simple as a smile and a good morning nod by a complete stranger, usually set me up for a good day. I felt doing the same to somebody else.... and a cascade ensued.

Could we go back to those days? Or something close to it. "With gas prices like these? Ain't gonna happen," my friends tell me! But I think we need it more now than at any other time. A little dose of politeness, with a little extra helping of kindness will go a long way in tiding us through these tough times. Cynics would say--"These things are not going to put food on the table" or these days "Ain't gonna fill up the gas tank". And that's true, but the heartburn that you get at the pump watching the dollars roll four times faster than the gasoline gallons, would be a lot less if somebody had shown some kindness, compassion or courtesy that day!

Remember, it doesn't cost you a thing. And you better believe what somebody wise said a long time ago-- "The best thing you can wear to improve your looks is a smile."