Last night, Jon & I went to see a movie that was really great. Now, before you race out and buy a ticket (which I think would bless you), I should probably point out that people in my family actively avoid flics I might recommend.

There was a period in my life where I saw just about everything that made a cinematic debut. Personally, I could find redeeming factors (whether artistic, acting, story lines, etc) in almost every movie. They even reached a point where they would purposefully avoid anything to which I adorned my 2 thumbs up. (I’m still trying to live down a recommendation I gave to my friends Leigh and Bart (who were just friends). I raved about 1993’s hit, The Piano – somehow forgetting that there were several minutes of on-screen awkward (for them) full nudity. I guess I was appreciating the scene as some sort of tribute to their Rennaisance art predecessors. Most normal people squirmed in their seats, searching for a quick exit … especially if you’re sitting next to your guy friend. ooops.)

That said, my pallet is a bit more refined. We don’t get out enough or have the extra cash to burn on some lame film. So, last night we saw, “It’s a Kind of Funny Story” about a kid who’s struggling with life’s pressures (school, social, parents) to the point of considering suicide. Don’t let the heaviness of that scare you away. It is a light-hearted, honest depiction of what kids struggle with.

They quietly hit the secret to overcoming life’s struggles out of the park. The key? For goodness sake, focus on someone other than yourself. Hmmm… I think I’ve heard that somewhere before – as in the response to the question, “What’s the greatest commandment”. Anyway… wonder how your kid feels on the inside? Check it out. It just might even offer a glimpse of insight into our own internal struggles, if we’re honest.

It’s 5 a.m. on a Sunday in Brooklyn. Craig Gilner is bicycling up to the entrance of a mental health clinic. This bright 16-year-old is stressed out from the demands of being a teenager. Before his parents and younger sister are even awake, Craig checks himself into Argenon Hospital. But the youth ward is temporarily closed — so he finds himself stuck in the adult ward. One of the patients, Bobby, soon becomes both Craig’s mentor and protégé

On the same note, I got a call from my sister-in-law yesterday. She had just dropped her husband off at the airport. The lucky dog is headed to South Africa for the Lausanne conference and will be gone for several days. Have I mentioned they have seven kids?

When she drove up to her local Starbucks, she was a bit blue, mostly because they genuinely enjoy being together. For her, a Chai Latte soothes the soul. She ordered then drove to the window to pay.

“You don’t owe a dime.” the Starbuck’s gal informed her.
“The person ahead of you took care of your bill.”

She strained to see if she might have known the generous person driving away. Nope, it was for sure a stranger.

“I don’t know,” Starbuck Gal replied. “People have been doing it all morning.”
“Well, let me pay for the lady behind me – for sure.”

My sister-in-law drove away filled (FILLED) with happiness. She couldn’t believe that a stranger paid for her drink, for no reason at all other than just to do it. A small random act of kindness propelled her out of the blues and transported her to the land of peace – generosity – other-focused. Don’t underestimate its power.


Pay It Forward


Posted Feb 10, 2010 @ 04:32 PM

Last update Feb 11, 2010 @ 06:20 AM

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