17 Feb Untidy Josephs
There’s nothing quite like working with Millennials that will make you feel older than discussing songs, bands, actors, or shows that they have never heard of in the entirety of their young lives. Sherri and I have taken it upon ourselves to educate our teammates on Def Leopard and their one-armed drummer, Rick Allen. Then this past weekend we got to explain that the star of a current hit movie is actually the daughter of Don Johnson…which they vaguely knew as ‘The Miami Vice Guy’. So, I knew there was no way they would know about a favorite show of mine from my childhood, Family Affair. The show featured Sissy, Buffy, Jody, and their caregiver Mr. French. Played by Sebastian Cabot, Mr. French was an English gentleman’s gentlemen to bachelor-uncle turned instant-parent, Bill Davis, in this sitcom of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Although there were many episodes of the show that I remember fondly, I loved the one where Mr. French prepared the children a meal of ‘Untidy Josephs’. After all, you can’t really be cultured if you’re eating regular ol’ Sloppy Joes now can you?
I love the simplicity of this concept. The meal was basic hamburger mixed with some tomato sauce and served on a bun—certainly nothing fancy about that. But, Mr. French took it upon himself to teach the children in his care to view things through a different, more sophisticated lens. And, voilà, Sloppy Joes became Untidy Josephs.
The team at the Community Foundation looked through a different lens today. In celebration of Random Acts of Kindness Week, we delivered coffee and donuts from Poppy’s Xtreme Donut Shop to the hard-working men and women at City Hall in Marion. The truth is, we are encouraged by the generosity of our donors every day. But, ‘pats on the back’ and ‘words of thanks’ aren’t necessarily commonplace if you work for city government. We decided to change that. It’s a new administration so we chose to welcome the newcomers and thank the many employees who have worked there for decades. We were able to shake hands, give hugs, and show appreciation for those leading the City of Marion. And, I have to say, starting my day out with a lens of thanksgiving helped my heart grow three sizes today. I highly recommend participating in Random Acts of Kindness Week (#RAKGRANTCOUNTY) by showing some kindness to someone who needs it, but doesn’t expect it at all. The giver, the receiver, and anyone who witnesses your kindness will be overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude and positivity. It’s downright impossible to feel negative when you have an attitude of gratitude.
This whole experience brought to mind a word/concept recently introduced to me: sonder. While you won’t find sonder in any official English dictionary, both Urban Dictionary and the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows define it as a noun that means, “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness”.
You see friends, if we become keenly aware of the fact that we are all living deep, wide, complicated lives we may be more inclined to ‘do kindness’ simply because that’s the lens in which we’d like people to view us.
Life is messy…sloppy joe messy. But, it’s also an epic story. Whether we’re in the background or on center stage, the way we treat people, help people, care for, and love people matters. Change your lens. Do kindness. It’s your story. Write it well.