Sunday, June 7, 2009

Making the best one ever

“I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cause you make the best ones ever.”

That was the response from a friend’s six-year-old son when she asked him what he wanted for lunch.

Nevermind that he had just declared to her that he was never,ever leaving home, even after he gets married. In his six-year-old mind, marriage meant just moving his new wife in with his mama.

I asked my friend how she could ever feel too down on herself when she had him around with such compliments. She never really commented, but she didn’t really have to say anything. It was one of those times when the smile on her face literally said it all.

Driving home from that conversation in the church parking lot today, I couldn’t help but think about how much different – and better – our world would be if we adopted that six-year-old’s attitude and were so open with our feelings or compliments about folks. Rather than solving issues by killing each other with a .9 mm, why can’t we simply sidestep the negatives by pointing out the positives about those living in the world around us.

I’m just as guilty. I judge someone harshly by a negative remark they make about me or a short or terse reply they give rather than attempting to figure out what it was that made their day so bad in the first place. Probably 99 percent of the time it wasn’t what I said that set them off yet I happen to have the shrapnel fired toward me anyway.Or I cut people down with a slight, sarcastic remark because I'm too afraid to build them up with a kinder word.

I think it’s truly all about thinking before you speak and weighing your words wisely – two life lessons various people have probably been attempting to instill within us since we were in elementary school or before.

How much nicer would this world be if we adopted the “you make the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches ever” attitude? If rather than cutting someone to the heart, we opted to pat them on the back. Or if we couldn’t think of anything positive to say to someone we simply chose to, as wiser people than me have often urged, say nothing at all.

Words are often sharp and cutting. But words can also be calming and soothing, literally the best medicine someone can take. Or give.

I don’t make the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich ever, but I’d like to think there is something I can do for someone that makes them believe it’s the best ever. My earnest prayer is that I live my life trying to achieve that on a daily basis. That I learn to make the proverbial best peanut butter and jelly sandwich ever for at least one person in this world.

Call me Pollyanna, I don’t care. It may not lead to world peace, but it certainly won't hurt to be kinder and gentler.

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