Same Stuff, Different Divorce

Brick Breakers: Will You Stand In The Gap

 

FIT@50Week 94: Approaching the New Year Happily

FIT@50Week 94: Approaching the New Year Happily

FIT@50 – Week 93: It Feels Good

How do you encourage your kids to lean on the truth?

FIT@50 / Week 92: Ugly’s Last Stand

FIT@50 / Week 91: I See You

FIT@50 / Week 91: I See You

Our kids are well, kids. They rattle on when they should just hush and shut down when they should shine. But alas, they are kids. I’d say for the most part they are pretty socially capable. Relatively speaking of course. After all, the boys are 7, 9, and 10.

They’ve all noticed I enjoy talking with people. The 13 year old calls me mister sociable, and then the 7 year old stumbles over the pronunciation of “sociable” to ask what it means. She smacks of early teenage condescension, “It means he talks a lot.”

Ahhhh, 13.

I’m happy they take notice.

What Leah Silverii and I teach the kids is to see people. I’m sure you understand what I mean, but to children, they are working to understand the difference between, “Watch out for that person,” and “Watch that person.”

I don’t talk to people just to fill space or hear myself pontificate over the weather or current state of affairs. I enjoy seeing them. It may be just a smile and hello, or a chat about travelling circuses. The subject matter doesn’t matter. It’s about making a human contact.

What does matter is making a human connection. It starts because my head is always up and my eyes are always looking forward. First is the cop in me. I visually scan everything. The second part is the benefit of making eye contact. It never fails to connect with someone else.

Once that visual connection is made, words naturally flow after a smile. And that is the simple art of being mister sociable.

There are folks who’ve not been seen their entire lives. Others who feel the weight of no longer being seen. Either side of the coin, it’s a horrible feeling to traverse this life invisible to everyone around you.

Since I retired from a very public position, and moved to an entirely different state, I could easily see how becoming one in a sea of anonymous anybodies could negatively affect you.

Going from instantly recognized, to one of the crowd in a big city was odd for me. I was used to the uniform serving as an instant ticket to enter into any conversation. Now, no one had a clue who I was or what I once did.

What I discovered was the most critical point of being social. It wasn’t the uniform, or the job, or the familiar locale. It was having my head up, eyes open and being receptive. I’ve always looked to see others. I cherish making the connection and the follow up with a few encouraging words.

I’m glad our kids see this. We want them to understand the value of being seen, but more importantly, seeing others. Everyone has value. Their exterior may be presented in faded jeans and a flannel shirt, or an expensive business suit, but it’s what in and behind the eyes that matter most.

Every holiday season is a challenge for me to minimize the seasonal depression that has plagued me since my teens. This year is no different, but without the facade of a uniform and shield, I’ve enjoyed more than ever being wide-eyed and sociable as me, and not the police chief.

Another wonderful benefit of seeing is also being seen. Give it a try. Don’t just look at someone. Look into someone. Each has a story to share. Maybe they’ll bless you with it if you hang around just a bit.

I See You.

Do Good,
Scott

FIT@50 / Week 89: Thanks, Thanksgiving

FIT@50 / Week 89: Thanks, Thanksgiving

Earlier this week I’d posted a question about fried or baked. I received plenty of comments that not only left me hungry, but realizing there are many more ways for preparing a turkey.

The next day I asked if you could have anyone – past, present or future join you for Thanksgiving, who would it be. I first expected to get answers like George Washington, Jesus, and Tom Brady.

Instead, the outpouring was so emotional, I once considered removing the question from my feed. Then I considered that everyone was only expressing what they felt most deeply in their hearts.

Deceased and estranged parents, siblings, spouses, children, in-laws, grandparents, friends and loved ones lost way too early or who had grown way too old.

It first felt like a punch in the chest as I read every one of the responses. I thought about my mom who I would’ve loved to have met Liliana Hart and Max. Next I thought about my dad who passed in September, who had it not been for the ravages of dementia, would’ve loved knowing Liliana Hart better and enjoying a little more time with Max.

Then the wrenching of my feelings turned to empathy for all of us who’ve lost uniquely special people in their lives. People who enriched us if by only their mere presence, and not by their bold actions.

I was reminded by so many answers that a deeper lost was felt for those unknown, never known or passed without passing paths. The spouses who never met their in-law, or the adult whose grandparent died long before they were conceived.

Greater still were the wishes of spending a day of thanks with angels miscarried, aborted or taken back into the merciful arms of Christ before reaching an age of accountability.

It was a humbling day of thankfulness, but for so many like myself, it’s also a day of re-mourning, regret, wishful wishes and realizations of never will be’s. But, by the grace of God, it is well with my soul, as I trust it is with yours.

I don’t regret asking that simple question, and I do rejoice in the responses, who instead of harboring the sadness of loss or missing, chose to share not only their replies, but their memories with everyone else. Isn’t that one of the most wonderful ways of ensuring they actually did spend the day with you?

This Thanksgiving was a bit different for Leah Silverii & I, but what looked like a doomed day inside a cross-country airplane ride, ended with leftovers at family and one excited Max. For that, I am also thankful. So here’s to getting through the day with a grin to end the night.

Thanks, Thanksgiving.

Do Good,
Scott Silverii