Almost 20 years ago, our family took a vacation in Anaheim, California. Our children Andrene, Joel and David were then 17, 14, and 6 years old, and being in Anaheim, we HAD to ‘do the amusement park thing.’ As it turns out, my kids’ favorite ride is the ROLLER COASTER. Twists, turns, flips, jolts, jerks, and ups & downs. “Come on, dad! It’s FUN!” they would yell, trying to get me to commit. “NO THANK YOU! I’ll have fun WATCHING YOU have fun!” was always my response…the same response at each of the different theme parks that we visited.
As I reflect on the combination of sheer terror and pure joy on my children’s faces so long ago, it occurs to me that 2020 has been a roller coaster ride for us all. Of course, our experiences are vastly different…I get that. And I certainly do not mean to suggest that the wrenching emotional upheaval that so many of us have experienced is comparable to an amusement park ride. Precious few, if any of us, consider 2020 to be a source of amusement. However, the memory of my children’s experience is teaching me a lesson.
Andrene, Joel and David repeatedly rode those roller coasters, knowing they would face twists, turns, flips, jolts, jerks, and ups & downs. They also knew that at some point, the ride would end, and that along the way, there would be a few short portions of those rides that would NOT be scary, but enjoyable. And there’s the key. The few short portions that were enjoyable.
Now why do I focus on that minor point? I’m inspired to seek out, and actively look for, the enjoyable experiences from this horrendous year. Just like the roller coaster ride, they may be few and short, but they are significant. For me, these include my father/son trip to the UK to watch English football with Joel, seeing David become the manager of a retail store, and officiating Andrene’s wedding. A photo is above. There’s a longer story about the wedding, including several changes of plans, and a change of venue, but that’s another story for another time. 🙂
This year we have had myriad scary moments and so many negative experiences, but there’s no need for me to elaborate on them here. It has been quite the roller coaster ride. Here’s my thought: Let’s find the few short, but SPECIAL moments and SHARE them. We could provide the inspiration that someone wants…that someone desperately NEEDS…as they navigate their roller coaster ride.
As presenters, you and I have a powerful responsibility…and an unprecedented opportunity…to encourage others to not only stay on the ride, but to seek the enjoyable moments on their ride. Let’s lift them. Let’s inspire them. Let’s show them. Let’s tell them, “YOU CAN HANDLE THE UPS AND DOWNS!”
DREAM BIG; WORK BIGGER!