“I'm singin' in the rain! Just singin' in the rain…” I didn't quite have Gene Kelly's footwork down, but I was humming his tune as I tapped my toe in a puddle of rainwater Sunday evening. Like all of you, I am so thankful for the glorious moisture we have been blessed with these past couple of weeks! And it isn't just the rain itself - it is what the rain has produced that makes me want to break out in song. The landscape of Cimarron County has turned from drab to bright. Sweet clover, growing wild in the ditches, emits its heady aroma. The crackly, dry grass in the fields is turning softer and greener. Wild flowers (which some would tell me were actually weeds) are daring to bloom. And the birds are singing their tunes even louder than usual. Add to the picture the mesmerizing cloud formations that have been our sky lately, and we have a touch - just a tiny touch - of heaven right here on earth.
A couple of evenings ago I found myself walking, not in solitude and stillness, but beside five lively and energetic kids I had invited to go along with me. It is very interesting what one finds out about when they are walking hand in hand with a six-year-old or beside a fourteen-year-old. I don't know if it was the fact we were outside or if it was the fresh air, but these kids talked, whooped, and hollered the entire journey and I truly enjoyed their company.
Along the road, I asked each of them to tell me something positive and good about themselves. I was stunned and surprised when they didn't instantly shout out their response after all they are kids, and kids say the first thing that comes to mind, right? Instead, the noisy jaunt suddenly became silent. These five beautiful and wonderful children couldn't think of an answer. I finally prompted them, and even then their answers weren't heartfelt or positive. One child actually said they didn't think there was anything good to say about themselves! And yet, all of them could let roll off their tongue negative traits they felt they possessed.
It was later, in the quietness of the night, that I came to a conclusion as to why these little creations from God were so quick to deem themselves negatively and so slow to speak of their good and positive qualities. They are our miniaturized mirrors; they are no different in this respect than are most of us who call ourselves adults. Influenced by television, magazines, influenced by other little mirrors and by words they hear adults innocently speak, these five children have been conditioned to not celebrate their uniqueness and wonderfulness. I thought about how often we all compare ourselves to others, and how often we come up lacking in that comparison. There is always someone who is faster, smarter, thinner, prettier, richer and funnier than we are! So, knowing this, we express our lack of the same by putting ourselves down. And little kids, all ears that they are, hear and sense our dissatisfaction and begin to believe the same in themselves. It is time to put the brakes on such talk, and it is time to turn off the television and put down the magazines. Our goodness is not qualified by our weight or our looks, it is not measured by what we wear or by what we own. When will we finally realize this? Now is the time to seek, find and believe the positive qualities and goodness within ourselves, and within the people we hold dear to our hearts.
Thus, I challenge each of you to change your way of thinking and speaking (even as I attempt to do the same myself). What is good about you? What positive qualities do you possess? What makes you special? What are your talents and gifts? Why is the world better because you are here this very minute? Don't be modest, don't be coy, just be sincere and truthful. And then celebrate and acknowledge your goodness, and celebrate the goodness you see in others, especially the little kids who hear what we say - even when we aren't speaking!
Perhaps, if I take my own advice, by the end of the summer I can once again ask these five precious kids that same question, and in their eagerness to tell me what is good about themselves they will all talk at once.
Boise City News