Several years ago, the 1st-grade teacher of my friend’s child was fired from her job at the parochial school because she was pregnant…and single. Apparently it was in her contract this was a no-no. Two factions emerged among the parents. One in favor of the firing…and one against. During this timeframe, I was at the child’s basketball game and behind me was a woman who was loudly voicing her opinions on how this was a great lesson for the children, “when you don’t follow the rules there ARE repercussions!” I don’t know what came over me, but I turned to her and said “yes, and I wonder… what would Jesus do?”
Needless to say, she didn’t like me very much after that.
But it got me thinking about how life, expectations, and “rules” can wash away the fairy dust we all possess as children. Kindness, acceptance, love, and “in the moment joy” can become replaced with self-righteousness, judgment, and the desire to win.
I so want to see the Mister Rogers movie, “It’s A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood.” As a child, I loved how calm, organized, and kind he was. His tidy home, kind friends, and helpful advice made me feel safe and secure.
Just like a day in the neighborhood, life can also be beautiful. It holds possibilities each and every day for new adventures, experiences, friendships, and feelings of meaning and purpose.
It can also wear you down. Let’s face it… life can be difficult. Sometimes the neighborhood feels a little scary, dark, and lonely.
This week I’d love to share a few of my favorite pieces of advice from Mister Rogers that may bring a bit more light into our lives and to those we share this world with…
Adhere to the Golden Rule… with a twist.
Treat others as you want to be treated…or better yet, treat others how THEY want to be treated.
Especially in the realms of thinking before speaking and thinking about the intention behind the question you’re about to ask or the choice you’re about to make.
I’ve been focusing on this myself and I find it fascinating. Oftentimes, my ego wants to ask the question I know deep down shouldn’t be asked or to make the comment that doesn’t need to be made.
For example, you really want to know the backstory of some recent drama with two friends. But does it matter? How will that enhance your life or the other persons?
And what is the fallout of sharing unnecessary information? Does your friend really need to know that someone said something gossipy about her? Sure it might feel satisfying in the short term to share the juicy tidbit… but what are you and most importantly your friend left with??? Sadness, worry, hurt? If so, don’t say it.
Invite everyone to the party.
I remember this one well. Handing out invites to everyone in my class. That was the rule. You either invite everyone or just one friend. Oh, and if it’s the latter… don’t tell everyone who didn’t get an invite about your upcoming party!
I’m not sure where this one got lost along the way. Perhaps social media made it acceptable and even cool to expose how others are missing out on the fun?
Sometimes it feels like we could use a little bit more sensitivity, right?
P.S. and if you get invited to the party, keep it to yourself?
Quit whispering in front of other people.
Okay, quit laughing! I think this is a biggie. My mother rid me of this habit years ago. I had this tendency to cover my mouth, lean in, and whisper in their ear. Very subtle, right? I remember saying, “Mom! I’m not saying anything mean or bad.. I just am sharing something with that person.”
Her response? “Other people don’t know that. They think you’re talking about them!”
A few months ago, I was at a party where the person I was chatting with kept leaning over whispering into my ear. She didn’t use her hand to cover her mouth so I’m guessing she thought it was unnoticeable… but what she didn’t realize was people WERE noticing, I was uncomfortable, and it was embarrassing.
If it’s personal… save it for a time when it’s just the two of you.
Let’s end with a fun one.
Hang your coat up.
My friend Lisa Blue from “Spaces By Lisa” is a personal organizer. I’ve heard stories upon stories of how she has helped people transform the energy not only within their homes but within their spirits as well. She recently was a guest speaker at one of my events and shared the number one tip to keep yourself on top of clutter….never allow one piece of clothing to linger on a chair, bench, or the floor in your bedroom. The shirt, slacks, or sweater either goes on the hanger, the drawer or into the laundry basket. I found that tip simple… and yet so difficult to implement! My bedroom chair typically has a minimum of 3 articles of clothing on it. So the past two weeks I’ve been using Lisa’s advice and I can tell you it feels better! Sure there are times I really don’t want to hang up the sweater before bed but since I have implemented the habit, the standard is set. Yay! I love the small wins?
So in essence, creating more calm, peace, and joy in your life is pretty simple and it’s found in one of my favorite quotes:
“All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.” ~ Robert Fulgum
Have a great week!