It’s not easy to see the positive when there’s so much negative floating around. It’s nearly impossible to avoid. I turn on the TV and listen to the talking heads drone on about the collapse of the auto, housing or financial industry. Gets old fast.
So I turn off the TV and tune into the radio only to hear that A-Rod asked his cousin shove needles full of junk into his body. Or about how much longer Boras can keep the Dodgers bidding against themselves for a prima donna who occasionally runs out ground balls.
Octomom. NFL players lost at sea. The stimulus plan. Rihanna. The new U2 album. Iran. The Bachelor. The Pirate Bay trial. Chimp attack. Health care. The Blackberry Storm. Congressional pork.
And then yesterday I came across a fitting end to my day. As I drove across the Microsoft campus, I noticed a man holding a sign above his head that said, “STOP CONTRACTOR PAY CUTS”. He was all alone. Pacing back and forth as a light rain fell from the sky.
Yep, even the mighty Microsoft has decided to layoff 1400 employees with another 3600 cuts looming over the next 18 months. Something about maintaining shareholder value
Of course it all trickles down to the thousands of Microsoft contractors and vendors of which I am one. Who knows where or when it will stop. I just hope Windows 7 isn’t Windows Vista come fall or I could have a lot more time on my hands to watch Jimmy Fallon.
But when I awoke this morning, I grabbed my iPhone, scratched my eyes and noticed I was scheduled to chaperone a group of Kindergartners to the museum. I got my butt out of bed and made my way to the school where I checked in at the office and was given a nametag made of bright orange cardstock with “VISITOR" across the front. I pinned the nametag to my jacket and no longer looked like that creepy Verizon phone guy.
Inside the Kindergarten class were 22 anxious children. They couldn’t wait to sit up high on the cushy bus seats on the way to the White River Valley Museum. I was in charge of the blue team which, as best I could tell, meant I was to keep the boys from pushing the girls and answer the question, “How old are you?” about 400 times. We made it safely to the museum where we learned about the Native Americans who lived in Auburn, WA area during the early 1800’s. We saw examples of the canoes they made from a single tree. We saw women’s dresses made from bark. We went into a tiny one room schoolhouse where the kids loved the idea of writing on small slates. That didn’t make up for their disgust at the lack of restrooms and electricity though.
Yes, the kids were active. A few required reminders on how to act. Outdoor voices were used much of the time, and even a few girls were bumped into. But these children were a breath of fresh air. They aren’t burdened by all the negative news taking place in the adult world. They are little sponges soaking in five times their weight in information. Their eyes lit up with excitement when the museum guide explained how salmon were caught in traps set in the river.
“Yep, my dad does that all the time”, one boy called out.
Just like my computer occasionally gets bogged down by a rogue process and requires a reset so do I. Today I took a step back from all the negative and reset my perspective. I’m going to focus on the positive. Like these children,I’m going to soak up the good. It’s easy to find the negative so I’ll leave that to others.
We left the museum and made our way back on the bus. Single file, of course.
I looked around and noticed I was the only parent on the bus. I was surrounded by 22 kids and I couldn’t have been happier. As I was about to pull out my iPhone and check email, I realized I was sitting next to my son. As I tucked my phone back into my jacket, Lincoln asked, “Will you come with me on our next field trip?”