Go Out There and Make It a Good Day!

by Wisdom Stories0 comments

My friend Dave served (and was wounded) in the Vietnam War. I recently asked him, “how have you been able to retain such an out-going positive demeanor after what you saw and experienced?” Here is his reply. ~ Karen

By Dave Wright

In the 1980s David Hartman was the anchor for the morning TV show Good Morning America. That program was often on when I was getting ready for work. I watched it mostly because it cut away to the local weather every hour or so. (Some of you will remember that in the ‘80s you could not just pick up your phone and see what the weather would be.)

Hartman had a kind and compassionate personality, and he often was enthusiastic about people and happenings which were featured on the program. It was a positive way to start the day.

But there was one thing that Hartman did each day that had a very positive influence on me. Instead of using the common statement “Have a good day!”, Hartman always closed the program by saying “Go out there and make it a good day!” (Emphasis mine.)

That directive to take responsibility for what kind of a day you are going to have really resonated with me!

We probably all know someone whose sullen or pessimistic attitude always seems to be related to their current circumstances or it is impacted by some as-yet-not-experienced-event that is making them less than positive. Those are generally not the type of folks we would regularly choose to hang around with.

I prefer to be around people who can find a silver lining or at least the possibility of one, even when they are camping in the rain! “Well, this is sure going to be a memorable weekend!” Or perhaps “At least the mosquitoes leave us alone in rain like this!”

Many years ago, it became apparent to me that a person’s attitude tends to spillover on those with whom they have personal contact. Imagine that each person you meet during the day is carrying around with them a glass of their “liquified attitude.” It can be an attitude that has the pleasant aroma of sweet rosewater. Or it might be a glass of attitude of rotting fish or skunk spray.

Each time you greet someone or respond to something they say (either with words or non-verbal signals), a little bit of your “liquid attitude” spills over on them. For example, a pleasant morning greeting such as “Good morning my friend. You look good today!” spreads a little of the sweet fragrance of a positive attitude. Hopefully it lifts their spirit just a little bit and stays with them for a while.

On the other hand, imagine if you respond to someone who shared a pleasant greeting with you by saying “Why don’t you mind your own business!” That response could quell any good vibes and perhaps even create a negative feeling. A bad attitude “stinks up the place.”

David Hartman’s closing statement encouraged me to try to shower my little world with cheerful, encouraging words. I surmised that if everyone spilled positive, friendly vibes on one another most of the time, people would be happier, and the little world of our existence would be sweeter for the effort.

In fact, the positive, caring attitudes were very contagious at the YMCA camp where I worked as an Executive Director. It has created a wonderful culture that both campers and adults love to be part of. Our goal became to conduct ourselves in such a way that people’s thoughts when they went home would be, “That is the friendliest place I have ever been!” It really worked!

Of course, life is not always peaches and cream. When someone is   experiencing difficulties, compassion and helpfulness are in order. And a funny thing happens when we help others, God often fills us with joy from the effort and encourages them as well.

Of course, God directs us with His divine wisdom: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Ancient wisdom the people of that day to which they could easily relate.).

As we go through life, each of us casts a shadow. Our shadow can create darkness, or it can inspire as God magnifies our actions for the good of many. Spilling a positive, cheerful attitude all around your community is mostly free and does not require too much effort!

Jesus said in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

About the author: Dave Wright and his wife Beth lived at Camp Tecumseh from 1975 until 2012, starting as counselors and the last 23 years with Dave as Executive Director. Their daughters Katie and Sarah grew up at the camp and followed the family tradition of becoming counselors before they went on to college. Dave and Beth live in Holland, Michigan. They enjoy biking and family time.   

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