When I was young, a box of Cracker Jack was one of my favorite treats. I loved the sweet brown coated popcorn and peanuts. I’m not sure what the coating was, but it tasted great. I remember that I would pop open a box, and pour the treat into my mouth. What made Cracker Jack even better was the toy surprise in each box. To many, these surprises are no big deal, but they were to me and obviously they had their appeal, because Cracker Jack and its surprise are still around today. The surprise, which was never bigger than an inch square and not much thicker than a quarter, could be a pendant , a book, a puzzle (I remember one where you maneuver a little steel ball through a maze andther was like a mini pinball machine), a set of tattoos (one of my favorites), a whistle, a top, and so on. Most prizes were OK but some were mini treasures, and I kept them all – yes, ALL. Some I played with a little but was always careful not to break or ruin them. Most were never played with, just gently handled and prized. Today I look back and see how this seemingly innocent practice might not have been the best behavior.
It’s hard to believe, but my beautiful little Erin moves out tomorrow to go to college. It feels like only five or maybe ten years ago since I was holding her tiny newborn body in my arms, and wondering how I could ever handle such a huge responsibility. And it seems like only a couple of years ago that she was completing elementary school. Now she is all grown up and so anxious to be off to face the world.
Socks! Yes, those things that most of us, especially guys, could really care less about, as long as they do what they are supposed to, are the right color, and, oh yes, match each other. Well, this is how it has been for me with socks, except for one thing – they don’t fit. I hate it when the curved ankle part comes out above the top of my shoes because the socks are just too big. I need to either bunch them up or create a wad of sock at the tip of my toes. This should not be.
“Our depth and willingness of service shows our degree of gratitude.”
This makes a lot of sense, because when someone does a kind deed for me, I am grateful and am so much more willing to help someone else. For example, a couple of years ago I was in Paris on vacation. I had heard many people say that Parisians are not friendly and do not respond to tourists, so this is what I believed. Well, we occasionally needed directions and every time we asked, we were greeted with a very willing and nice person that did help us. This not only changed my opinion of Parisians (don’t always believe what others tell you), but it strengthened my desire to help others when they are visiting my country, especially those speaking French. So, when I am in a US national park, which I often am, I make an extra effort to listen for those that might need assistance that I can provide.
I was on the phone the other day with my friend and somehow we got talking about business. He has started several businesses and is currently running a successful consulting business and doing quite well. He told me he has observed a principle that seems to always hold true: risk and reward – the more risk, the more potential reward. He told me a story of two painters, Ted and Bill, going to the same university at the same time. They were both very talented and graduated with degrees. Ted took a secure and good job at a computer company as a graphic artist. This was not Ted’s ideal job but the safe bet. He has done well for himself and has provided a nice income and stability for his family. As Ted finds time, he still paints but more for himself than anyone else. Ted would still like to be able to make a living as a painter but probably doesn’t see how.
Bill, took a big risk. He moved his family to a small town where he could rent a studio for very little money. Bill’s family was very poor for many years and went without many comforts as Bill developed his style and skills. Now, Bill is a very successful and famous painter making a great living and doing what he loves to do.