For many years I have been aware that sometimes, unbeknownst to us, people are affected by what we do. The story I have told for most of those many years is that I was at a social event at a Dental Meeting and a young man, who had been my chairside technician when I was a Navy Dentist approached me and chatted away amiably. When we had revisited all the “What have you been doing since…” he said, “You know, I have always wanted to thank you, because you changed my life.”
“How did you do that?” my wife asked after he had left, to which I replied, “I haven’t the vaguest idea.”
I started writing this Blog because I attended a writer’s club and the speaker was mentioning how a prospective writer could benefit from writing a blog. Her name is Sonia Marsh and she blogs as Gutsy Living http://soniamarsh.com/ . She probably had no idea that her presentation would “change my life”, but it has. And recently, when she responded very graciously to teach me how to add links and pictures to my Blog, I like to think she may have smiled and thought, “I had no idea…”
What actually inspired me to write this though was an entirely different story. Mary and I travel quite a bit, usually for short periods and usually alone. But once a year we gather as many of the primary family as are willing and able and take off for somewhere. The nice part is that we have a pleasant week. The troubling part is that neither of my children, who live close to me, is available to check on mail and water the plants on my deck.
This year, when we were about to leave for Wisconsin, I contacted a 13 year-old boy who lives on our street and is a friend of my grandson. Jordan came by for an orientation session and to settle on a contract for doing those chores for a week. He was a very bright and pleasant boy and responded to my question of what he was doing this summer, by mentioning that he was going to a crafts camp.
I needed little more encouragement to ask if he knew what a lanyard was and to tell him of my favorite poem by a past Poet-Laureate, Billy Collins http://tinyurl.com/The-Lanyard-BillyCollins . He said they might be making one and thanked me for my interest.
The day after we returned, and after I had paid him for his efforts, he appeared at my door and gave Mary an envelope. Inside were a really neat, lanyard bracelet and more interestingly, a copy of the poem I had recommended. No explanation, no note, just the two gifts.
I find that not only impressive, but a little daunting, since it reminds me that there is no such thing as a casual comment to a receptive companion. We have the ability to affect people and indeed have the responsibility to remind ourselves of the consequences of what we say and do.
I just returned from a dental meeting in Chicago. Reading material on the way included some back issues of the Wall Street Journal. One of the articles was titled ‘When Your Doctor Wants Your Credit Card”. I have a ten-year history with Care Credit and will share some of my experiences with you next weekend. I think you’ll find it very interesting.