Wednesday, February 19, 2020

leverage the fridge

what is on your refrigerator?
kids' artwork? photo booth pics? concert tickets? grocery list? fingerprints.

what was on your refrigerator in your childhood home when you were growing up? our fridge always had a small promo calendar on it from an insurance company, a tattered copy of "Babies Don't Keep" poem, and rotating newspaper clippings of Dear Abby and Miss Manners.

researchers found that most people look at their fridge an average of 30 times a day. 

different researchers found that our regular surroundings - things in our day to day environment that we see repeatedly - have a critical impact on our behavior, perspectives, motivation, thoughts, physical, emotional, and mental health. the things we surround ourselves with every day influence who we are. 

the refrigerator is a big part of our daily surroundings. it takes up a big space in our kitchens. it's a destination. that's why we put things on there like calendars and to do lists. it's how we memorize the magnets and the remember the milk. we could be missing a huge opportunity to influence the people in our home if we don't take advantage of that big magnetic bulletin board in the heart of our homes. 

leverage the fridge. put something on it knowing you and your loved ones will see it multiple times a day every day for potentially many years of their lives. write out an encouraging note, your family mission statement, a scripture verse or two, a daily prayer, grab a magnet, and stick it up there front and center. 

we probably all have fridges. and we probably all have loved ones. we might as well use this appliance we face repeatedly to intentionally influence our surroundings. 

"So keep these commandments carefully in mind. 
Tie them to your hand to remind you to obey them, 
and tie them to your forehead between your eyes! 
Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting at home, 
when you are out walking, at bedtime, and before breakfast! 
Write them upon the doors of your houses and upon your gates, 
so that as long as there is sky above the earth, 
you and your children will enjoy the good life 
awaiting you in the land the Lord has promised you."
-Deuteronomy 11:18-21


Monday, February 10, 2020

be kind 101

the other day i saw a big pickup truck with a custom license plate that said BE★KIND. i don't usually give a second thought to custom license plates but this one seemed to be in the perfect place at the perfect time.

it was a beautiful sunny saturday afternoon in a busy shopping center. BE★KIND had it's flashers on and was stopped in the middle of the 2-way one lane road, blocking all incoming traffic behind him. on closer look, i saw an even bigger delivery type truck that was parked sideways across the road on the other side of BE★KIND. the front end of the delivery truck was stuck precariously between a fire hydrant and a light post. yikes. men congregated on the curb, surveying the situation, probably discussing ways to maneuver the delivery truck without doing major damage. what's worse? electrical damage or water/plumbing damage? it was quite a predicament and the traffic started to build up.

but all the cars that lined up in the jam, all the impatient drivers trying to get through, were faced with that license plate, BE★KIND. just when someone was about to honk, BE★KIND. when road rage was about to ensue, BE★KIND. i could practically sense the shift of attitude as each driver approached the scene, from WTH?!? to BE★KIND. that license plate might as well have said CALM DOWN EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE JUST FINE RELAX PEOPLE IT'S GONNA BE OKAY.

do we really need a reminder so blatantly in our faces in order to actually be kind? would everyone be a little nicer, more patient, extend more grace if it was written out before us 24/7? why is it so hard for people to be kind? 

we like to say kind is cool but i've been out there, and people are not always kind or cool. 

sitting there waiting for the trucks to move, i came up with this short list of basic ways to live out kindness. be kind 101, if you will: 

// don't honk in impatience. 
// say please and thank you, and excuse me and bless you.
// smile.
// put the buggy back.
// treat service employees with respect as they serve you (not entitlement).
// flush when you're finished.
// don't litter - that includes chewing gum. find a trash can.
// don't use foul language or gestures in public places.
// hold the door open for other people. 

and then the delivery truck backed out safely and everyone moved on about their day with smiles, compassion, gratitude, and grace. it was kinda cool.