June 7, 2021
I have no idea why running camp this summer has made me so nostalgic, but I find myself thinking about wisdom and positive lessons from the past.
One of the great advantages of the camp season is that my news consumption goes way down. We are focused on the fun and growth of your children, so the news shrinks in importance. What I have noticed is that this drop in news has made my days a bit happier.
This is not just because the news tends to highlight the negative aspects of society, though that can make me think the world is more fraught than it actually is.
No, it is the tone of the news that was wearing me down. [Note from Susie Ma’am – I sure hope he is getting to a point that the parents will care about!] The news feeds and articles and stories all seemed to have a heightened level of immediacy, even anger about them. I know that news companies do better when they present scary or indignant stories because that is what makes us tune in more. This regular heightened tone permeated my typical day.
[OK, Baskin, get on with it! SB]
OK, here is my point. Without the news, I find my days a little lighter and more joyful. As I contemplated that, my mind turned to my father who passed away 16 years ago. He was a State Judge, a man of deep integrity and an amateur actor. His favorite role was the lead in a local production of Harvey. If you have not seen it, I recommend the movie with Jimmy Stewart in the lead role.
It is an odd play. Our hero is probably crazy, but wonderfully kind. He greets everyone as a person of value. He, however, had an odd quirk – his best friend is an invisible 6 -oot rabbit named Harvey. I will not bore you with the entire plot, but I do want to share a quote that my father often said.
It seems to be a great quote as I think about the politics and news of our day.
Here is the clip with Jimmy Stewart. It is worth the 30 seconds.
For those of you who would like to see the quote, here it is.
Doctor: Good heavens man! Don’t you have any righteous indignation?” Elwood Dowd: Years ago, my mother used to say to me, she’s say, “In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” For years I was smart - I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.
I know I have spent too many days trying to be oh so smart. But camp has help build up the habit of being pleasant. Of course, marrying a naturally pleasant person helps [aww], but perhaps the most important part is the atmosphere of our community. It is my hope that every camper is getting to practice being “oh so pleasant” this summer!