Thursday, February 18, 2010

Smile and Wave Boys, Just Smile and Wave

so goes a favorite line of mine from a favorite movie, as spoken by penguins.

I think of it often when dealing with certain people who, if they didn't grate on my nerves would be acquaintances.

And this lent, it is a good penance. "Smiling and waving," for me, is a metaphor for dealing with the difficult people we encounter in life. Treating them better than they treat me.

When I was a day camp counselor in my teens we had one child with particularly tough behavioral issues. The worst part was, he was EXTREMELY intelligent. His logic was among the best of them. And one incident I particularly remember happened after he had been caught fighting with another little boy. When the camp director had him in the office, he said, "Now, B, you know what the Golden Rule is?" The little boy's answer still elicits laughs when I tell people, "Yes, he hit me first, so he must have WANTED me to hit him!" I think we all really struggled not to laugh. No child had ever come back with this logical response.

Of course, we all the know the true idea is that we should people the way we want to be treated regardless of how they treat us, but for me, smile and wave goes beyond that to say, treat them better than you want to be treated before they treat you well or not. For me, it can be painfully difficult. I have what is referred to as "a smart mouth" and have been told that sarcasm is my super power. So, when confronted with someone who brings out the worst in me, it takes me a lot more effort to just smile, wave and move along than one might think. I have been praised for my tolerance and patience, but I don't think that is very often deserved. After all, if I think something bad, I'm not living up to the hype.

So, my challenge this lent, and a challenge I extend to everyone else: smile and wave.

No comments: