Sidewalk Ghosts / “Learn About The Deadliest Sins and Do The Opposite.”

“Be nice to strangers, and do your part to make the world a better place.”

_L2R3527From left to right: Shane, Saya and Kevin

Not far down the road from where I live is a yearly tradition. A family fun destination, that, as fast as it is set up, it disappears. A brightly lit and musically backed event which, appearing in a local parking lot, draws families and individuals of all perspectives and histories to its surface. A frozen mixing pot that, for a few dollars, puts people of all shapes and sizes shoulder to shoulder for smiles and laughter. Year after year, I’d driven past it, always saying to myself,one day I’d take my family ice skating, California style.

On October 29, 2011, I found myself driving by the rink. As I passed, and in its proven tone, the voice inside me sounded its alarm,“stop there, now!” I’d learned to trust its strangely subtle call. A diving rod of sorts, it had directed me to many welcoming and unique individuals; and after fifty days of getting to know it, I had accepted the feeling that wherever it pointed me, I followed.

So it sounded, stop there, now! And I listened. Not knowing why, and not certain if I would interview anyone, I obediently followed. Some nights it pointed me to an accepting interview, others on a path of rejection. Yet, every time I humbled myself to it, it ultimately led me to meet to a compelling person. So on that night I was as uncertain as always as to the course I was about to embark on. The question always in the back of my mind, “Is this tonight’s starting point or an end point?”

I admit, I felt horribly selfish making my first visit to the ice skating rink without my family. But I had to trust the prompting.Hence, without question, without self-justification, without thought of location or timing, I just went.

Entering the complex and to the cashier, I asked, “how much to skate?” I was directed to a sign: $15 for adults, $12 for children.

The place was busy, and leaning on the rules of interview etiquette that I had formed, I readied myself to move on. Thinking it would have been inconsiderate to interrupt these kids at work. I turned away from the counter and set stride to depart, but the alarm sounded louder. “You must invite them!”

I was Glad I listened.

Throughout this project I have been led to some of the greatest youth. From kids that scared me at first to kids who were at the top of their game. Most impressive was that the majority had shared words beyond their years, each leaving me with this distinct impression; the future is in good hands.

And on that night on October 2011, a temporary winter wonderland had put me in contact with three more of a select generation, Shane, Saya and Kevin. Each one a great young adult, each with wise perspectives, each with hope for what’s to come, and each with well-grounded maturity in what they claimed.

We spent about an hour talking: A little bit of sharing as a group and some one-on-one Q&A. Here is a compilation of their wisdom:

“Be nice to strangers, and do your part to make the world a better place.”
“Learn about the deadliest sins and do the opposite.”
“Be courteous to others, its common sense.”
“People can be selfish, so learn to share.”
“Say thank you.”
“Be the first to open doors for others.”
“Take care of the environment.”
“Be spontaneous.”
“Don’t overthink, things always work out.”
“Take risk, follow dreams, no regrets.”
“There is a lesson in all we do, good experience and bad experience, it’s all about a positive perspective.”
“Stay open to new things.”
“Don’t live with what-ifs, there is always a way back.”
“There is a positive answer to every situation, don’t allow yourself to get trapped in the negative.”

I had again been put in the right place, at the right time, and with the right people. Brought to a destination where I could rub shoulders with the future as I met a trio of passionate future leaders. Three young adults who individually and combined gave us a most precious set of wisdoms.

What I choose to not publish are a few very personal life issues they shared. Events I assure you had gained them their bragging rights. So in honor to their privacy, and after spending time with them, I assure you they had earned the right to be respected; and I consider it part of my job to not exploit their life stories. But, this I will say, they understood where they were going, had accepted what they had been through, knew whom they were, and had good grasp of what was important. How many of us can say the same?

Talk tomorrow my good friends,


Readers, if you are returning, so nice to be with you again. If you are new, looking forward to getting to know you.

To all: please commentlike, and forward. Every engagement goes a long way toward connecting us; as together, we grow a movement that betters the way we view and treat one another.

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