A young man was a slow worker and found it difficult to hold down a job. After a visit to the employment office, he was offered work at the local zoo. When he arrived for his first day, the keeper, aware of his reputation, told him to take care of the tortoise section.
Later, the keeper dropped by to see how the young man was doing and found him standing by an empty enclosure with the gate open.
“Where are the tortoises?” he asked.
“I can’t believe it,” said the new employee, “I just opened the door and whooooosh, they were gone!”
A lot happens in twenty-four hours. Babies are born, healing happens and somewhere, two people fall in love.
Think about the past twenty-four hours in your own life. Have you felt joy, did you laugh, have you recognized God’s miracles?
It’s our responsibility to be happy and to bring happiness to others. So how come I was downright rude to the barrista who screwed up my coffee order this morning?
Author Joseph Telushkin challenges people he meets, to go for twenty-four hours without saying anything unkind about or to anyone. He says people laugh nervously at his suggestion and he tells them;
“Then you have a serious problem, because if I were to ask you to go for twenty-four hours without any alcohol, and you said you couldn’t, that would mean you’re an alcoholic. And if you couldn’t go twenty-four hours without smoking a cigarette, that would mean you were addicted to nicotine. And if you can’t go for twenty-four hours without speaking unkindly about or to another, that means you’ve lost control over your mouth, and regaining such control will require vigilance.”
Try it. Note the time and get started. Tomorrow, twenty-four hours from now, reflect on the challenge and notice how speaking kindly, brings you kindness.
Share with us how you did and take the poll to see how you compared with others. Go— and speak kindly.
FEEDBACK: The inevitable result when a baby doesn’t appreciate the mashed carrots.
HEARSAY: What toddlers do when anyone mutters a dirty word.
PRENATAL: When your life was still somewhat your own.
PUDDLE: A small body of water that draws other small bodies wearing dry shoes.
STERILIZE: What you do to your first baby’s pacifier by boiling it and to your last baby’s pacifier by blowing on it.
TOP BUNK: Where you should never put a child wearing Superman pajamas.
WHOOPS: An exclamation that translates roughly into “get a washrag.”
I think light and dark are in each of us and we can tap into either avenue at any point in time.
When I was expecting my son years ago, I prayed every day: “Please give me a happy, healthy, well-adjusted son with a strong backbone and a mind of his own.”
As in, make him all the things I’m not.
Instead of creating another human being and making him a repository for all my neuroses and flaws, perhaps I should have started working on myself. It took me many years to reach the point where I was able to honestly examine where I was in life.
It wasn’t until I saw the tail-end of an Oprah show about the new-age film, the Secret, that I started to wonder how much of this I had done to myself. And I was shocked at the answer. Every time I said, “I’ll stay in this job, for now”, or “I’ll keep the status quo of this dysfunctional marriage,” I made my choice. Each interim measure that lasted for years had my fingerprints all over it.
So I opened up to the notion of possibility. Hope. Grace. And found that I could turn the light on in my own life if I just had a little faith.