Freshening your perspective (a visit to the nursing home)
This afternoon and evening, I spent some time helping my wife get her mom checked into a nursing home, for a temporary stay while she recuperates from two recent back surgeries. We are hoping to have her back at her home by Christmas, but time will tell on this. We also went and bought her a TV (who knew they would have cable at every bed?) and got it set up before we left.
We were there with our three kids, and our toddler daughter Abby basically had free run of the place. At one point, she darted into the director's office, and they seemed really happy to see her and her antics. Later, while my wife was with her mom, I was following Abby, and she ran into one of the rooms with patients. I cringed inwardly, but when I got in there to pick her up, I looked to one side, and there was a smiling lady waving and cooing at the baby. As I turned around, her roommate was doing the exact same thing. They were thrilled to have the company. It was like a ray of sunshine for them.
Everywhere we went in the facility, the patients' faces would light up magically at the sight of our three blond cherubs. I have experienced this before with our littlest one when we walk around at a mall or a restaurant, but today all of our kids were perceived as something interesting and new, young and beautiful. My son Brandon was very engaging and friendly, and my six-year old daughter Aleah just had to stand there and look pretty, frankly.
I used to volunteer at a hospital when I was a teenager, and I remember similar expressions on the patients that I helped provide care for. Later, when I was president of my college fraternity, we once held a dance with the ladies at the Wesleyan Nursing Home just up the street from the university. There were about 10 of us who showed up, and we made the rounds dancing with as many of the ladies as we could, even some who were in wheelchairs. They were so excited to dance with us, and it is something that I hope I never forget.
To be honest, I would love to always get that same reaction from my family and friends, and even from my real estate clients. I want their faces to light up when they see me, or even when they hear my name. This is probably asking a lot, but why not shoot for this? I want people to be excited to see me and to be interested in my conversations. I don't expect everyone to be enraptured by my every word, but I do want the impression I leave to always be as positive and interesting as possible.
Thinking about it from the other perspective, I wouldn't mind being able to find pleasure in something as simple as a friendly child, or a visit from a new friend. I know that I get wrapped up sometimes in the daily grind, but tonight's trip was a good reminder for me about priorities.
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