There are two ways to view one’s life: what happens TO me or what I do to improve the world.

We are all guilty of both at one time or another. I hope to strive toward the latter as much as possible, but I dwell in the woe-is-me mire from time to time just like anyone else. Today, I read an inspiring article in about a 68-year-old Chicagoan who is changing the lives of inner-city kids.

“John Kidd took 20 kids from his South Side neighborhood fishing in 1987. He watched as fidgety youngsters who spent their summers in cramped apartments grew calm and focused after dropping bait. ‘Fishing,’ says Kidd, a retired auto-mechanics teacher, ‘is like touching heave.'” (People Magazine, p. 62, August 15, 2011)

Since then, he has taken 10,000 children to fish – where they learn patience and calm.

What an amazing story. And what a simple, universal lesson.

How many days do we spend tied to our desktops and our computers? How many hours are we glued to the driver’s seat of our cars, racing fro Point A to Point B?

Versus…how many nights have you stopped to listen to the crickets through the open windows? How many times have you watched the sky change color, moment by moment, as one day begins or one day ends?

Have you ever stopped to listen to the thunk of the ball hit the court instead of focusing on the race to the net and the jump to swish it in?

I haven’t.

I notice some of these details in my everyday life but I notice it all more when I am away from the routine. On vacation, on a weekend, on a hike with my children, on a stroll with my husband. Those are the times outside of time that I stop to take notice. And the rest of the time my heart pounds with the race to get it all done.

I am going to be inspired by Mr. Kidd for just a little while longer. Maybe that’ll make all the difference.

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