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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Why smile?

I’ve been on two missions with the Akron Snow Angels since my last blog post.   Why haven’t I posted?    It’s not because I didn’t learn anything.   It’s been quite the opposite.   For me, I’ve wanted to look at things from a different perspective.   I wanted to see things with a different mindset.   I wanted to let other approaches take over for a bit and see where they lead me.   In all of this, I’ve learned a lot about myself, and people in general.   As for the mission, there were two things that seemed to stick out for me today as I talked to people.   Both points came to me from totally different levels….literally.

My first lesson was very much in my face.    Actually, I had to kneel down for it to be in my face.   In the picture, I’m talking with a gentleman named Michael.   According to those close to him, Michael was really excited to talk to me and tell me exactly what he really wanted.   Michael wanted shoes.   A size 3 kids shoe.   When I asked him what color he enthusiastically replied with, “It doesn’t matter, but I really like blue and red.”   
I’m not sure of his story.   I’m not sure of his parents story.   I do know that Michael is a neat kid.   He’s bursting at the seams with personality.   He’s got a winning smile and happy-go-lucky attitude in a less than ideal situation.   I can honestly say that Michael made my day today.
As a young child, Michael has a simpler view of the world than most of us.   In getting me back to the basics, this young man reminded me of something that I need to do more on a daily basis.

Lesson one:   Smile.   It’s contagious.

Of recent, I’ve found myself using one word in the english language more than any other, and it’s become extremely helpful to me.    The word “why” has been my guiding word of late.   As people, it’s our natural tendency to ask the “who, what, where, when”, and just file that information away.   As I’ve started to dig into the “why” of things, I’ve been able to diagnose problems rather than just look at the symptoms.   
It seems like so many people see a homeless person and assume that “poor life choices” are the reason as to why that person is living the way that they do.  If you only ask the who, what, where, and when, then I get why you’ll come to that conclusion.   When you start to ask why they made some of those choices, that’s when you really start to learn about these people.   That’s when it finally clicks as to how we can truly help people.   When you keep asking “Why?”, you’re able to break things down into solvable problems.   

Lesson two:   Continually ask “Why?” if you want to solve problems instead of symptoms.      

It’s been a little over a year that I’ve been going on missions with the Akron Snow Angels.   I feel like I’m just now reaching a new understanding of what is happening, and how we can move to make things better.   All of this because I am continually asking the question “Why?”   I suggest that you do the same.

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