Thought For Today

I am so glad that you have found this site and I hope you will find encouragement and joy as you read through my thoughts on God, family and life.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Touching Lives

Acts of kindness being observed by little eyes.

Today the weather is changing and Minnesota as a whole is experiencing a wide variety of temperatures and different forms of moisture.  From central Minnesota north there is forecasted the chance of snow while here in southeastern Minnesota, we are experiencing rain and perhaps freezing drizzle for this evening.  The transition to winter is happening at a fast rate, and I have observed that all of nature is scurrying around feeding heavily with the attempt to fatten up for the cold winter ahead. 
Today a wild turkey has been feeding in our meadow, while last night a skunk came to visit looking for food by the house. 

The gathering storms of seasonal change.
Yesterday William and I spent the day outside fixing the snow blower and changing its oil getting it ready for the upcoming snowstorms in the coming months ahead.  I remember last year in getting back from Florida, it was a surprise for us all.  We discovered that several feet of snow were on our driveway.  I had to wade through the deep snow in order to get to the snow blower.  I had to cut a path for my family to walk to the house, otherwise our children would not have made it in the deep snow.  Now we are getting ready for another vacation, but I feel prepared for the snow that is coming.  Two days ago I was caulking on the roof around the vents and smoke stacks, again readying our home for the long winter ahead.  When I was on the roof working, Will was throwing away old damaged shingles that were just removed from our rooftop.  Like the animals, we too in the North Country are preparing for the cold days ahead. 

I remember as a child when the nights got colder, my desire to snuggle up with a book was greatly anticipated.  As a little boy, I remember going to a grocery store near our home.  The owner, (Mr. Carlson) let me look at his books as well as the comic books with not charge to me.  I would read the different books and let my imagination run free.  I remember thinking at that time how it would be to visit some of these countries I was reading about.  I got so excited that it would lead me to more material on the same subjects.  I then would try to find information on these topics from the school library.   In looking back, I could see the kind hand of Mr. Carlson allowing me to read in his store.  I also recall that I would bring him pop bottles and he would pay me 3 cents a piece for them, and I would buy candy or another comic book or magazine to read.  This quiet gentle man touched my life in ways that I will not fully understand here in this life, but I know that by his kindness to me, I was changed in my desire to read.

Will discovering the autumn wonders.
How many of us looking back can see how one kind act has influenced our lives.  I believe that one day when I sit before my Savior, he will show me those points in my life that were changed by what I saw perhaps as insignificant acts of kindness at the time.  Now looking back, I can see they were in fact life altering experiences.   

Another man that changed my life was my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Como.  He was tough and he frightened me at times by his staunch nature.  I was having challenges in my life with anger at the time.  I was rebellious over losing my favorite 5th grade teacher who left part way through the school year to be a principal in another town.  I did not adjust to his substitute and consequently, we locked horns everyday.  I went from having As and Bs to Cs and Ds my latter half of 5th grade.  I spent so much time in the principal’s office the second half of 5th grade that I got to see our principal’s job, and what she did appealed to me. 

Deer gathering for the coming winter.
One day when sitting in my usual place in the principal’s office, a male teacher stopped, looked down at me and said, “I got you next year boy!”  At that moment I remember thinking, “My year was not bad enough, now I have this man to look forward to.”  Mr. Como saw something in me that no one else did, potential.  He was hard on me, but fair.  He encouraged me in almost every way and I blossomed and grew.  Consequently I forgot about him over the years, but I hadn’t realized that my impact on Mr. Como was life altering for him as well.  One day many years later, I was sitting at my principal’s desk and I remembered Mr. Como and how this one man turned me around in my attitude and my desire to learn.  I next checked into the state education database and I found him.  He was in the iron range part of Minnesota.  In looking at his title, I could see that he was now not a teacher, but a counselor instead.  I decided to give him a call and that one phone call changed our mutual lives yet again.  Mr. Como had become a school counselor and had left the classroom shortly after having me as a student.  I immediately thought of how he must have changed so many children’s lives like my own.  In my conversation with him on the phone, he revealed to me something very shocking.  “Augie, you are the reason I went into counseling students.  I saw how it made such a difference in you in the time we spent together, that I wanted to help others like yourself.”  My life was not the only one that had changed that year, Mr. Como embarked on a life of service in helping many more children throughout the years.  Those children who needed his tough love, supportive words, and acts of kindness, just as he had done for me.  Being a principal at the time, I saw myself in the same place, helping counselors and teachers in their pursuit in teaching and touching the lives of children. 

Will being asked to captain a boat at Disney World.
Years before becoming a principal, I was an Alternative School teacher and administrator.  I worked with many children, much like myself when I was in 5th grade.  In looking back, I can see the hand of God in my life in me working with At-Risk students.  It was my turn to help lost children just as I had been helped.  How many lives have you touched?  Has your life been changed in ways that have turned you around? Was it  by a man or woman who had gone out of they’re way to help you?  I believe that God gives us insight into our past at times, to let us see how even small acts of kindness have changed our lives, and that of others.