Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lessons for Gus

Every once in a while I think of life lessons that I want to try to remember so I can teach them to Gus. So, I think I'll make this a continuing post every now and then. Every parent of course wants to teach their child basic lessons of love, patience, hard work, faith, integrity, gratitude, etc. etc. (Feel free to make a list of them for me so I don't forget any.)But there are so many more life lessons that I hope Gus is able to learn early on so that he doesn't look back and regret anything and so that he can be well respected in life.

A few days ago I was having a conversation with my sister about how we say dumb and rude things sometimes and don't realize that they are rude until after they've left our mouths or maybe even not until hours or days later. It seems to be a family trait. I told her about something I said years ago that has never left my mind. I was a sophomore in high school, on the sophomore cheer squad. It was Halloween and I was invited to a big party that would have sophomores, juniors, and seniors. It was the party to go to. It was only a few weeks prior that our school held the Homecoming Dance and had crowned Homecoming royalty. One of the contestants was a senior cheerleader who I knew, looked up to, and felt quite intimidated by. She didn't win the crown but came in a runner-up. I think I was dressed up in a Mexican sombrero, a wool tunic, and a handlebar mustache when I ran into her at the party. She was dressed up as a princess of sorts. So, as we came face to face in this crowd of people I tried quickly to think of something smart, kind, witty, or just anything to say. Instead what came out of my mouth was "What are you dressed up as? Homecoming Queen?"

It probably didn't help that the party was held at the actual crowned queen's house.

I'm not sure that I will ever forget that moment. I wanted to say something else so bad to make it sound better. The way I meant it was that to me, because she was a member of my cheerleading family, and I knew her to be a great person, in my mind she was the homecoming queen. Although there really is no good way to communicate that.

The lesson that this story provoked for me was this ...everybody says and does stupid things sometimes. Gus will, I certainly will, his friends will, teachers, just about everyone he associates with. And that doesn't necessarily make us bad people. What matters is that we are all trying to be good people and trying to fix our mistakes along the way. And of course there are occasional run-ins with people who seem to not be trying to be good at all. But, generally there is always good in people. It can be very easy to label someone based on one stupid thing they did or said and it is easy to make a quick judgement of someone based on how they look or talk. (and that's a whole other story)

Gus, try to look for the good in people and not the bad. When possible make your own judgement of people and don't follow someone else's judgement. Overall, be kind to people, and if you are they will remember you and respect you always. And forgive those who hurt you, they probably did it by mistake or because they are hurting inside.