NEWSLETTER FROM BETS DANKO
How many of you dressed up for Halloween? I did. I spent some serious time in front of the mirror...aging myself and transforming my face into that of a 75 year old man.
Being around children who are trick or treating is awesome.... but taking part in their fun is undeniably super fun.
What a shame Halloween isn’t every day of the year.
I love adorable little children parading around in costumes to express their individuality and their undying love of super heroes and princesses. Lady bug costumes, spiders, tiny dinosaurs of all kinds, and even little skunk costumes on children of all ages really tickle my silly bone. If I could watch children play in costume all day I would be thrilled.
It’s pure magic.
Dressing up with them made me part of the club.... the “Super Fun Club.” I wasn’t just an adult... I was a Super Fun adult! I was the adult who understood. I was the adult who got it.
Pretending to be someone else is awesome.
As much as I adore the costumes of Halloween, what I really enjoy is the simplistic happiness that children express when they step into the “shoes” of a fantastic character. How amazing is it that they are overjoyed at the prospect of being someone else for the day!
You know what really knocks the socks of a child who is becoming someone new for the day?...If you recognize who they are. It’s not a feeling of having done it right or wrong.... it’s a realization that they really did become someone else. I mean, you recognized them so it must be true! And...because that someone else is cool, the kid is cool.
Now... not every child shows up to the neighbors door as Cinderella or Superman. Some children are dressed 1920’s flappers, ghosts, or their own dad. Some children dress as hobos or characters from role playing games and yet the feelings are the same....we may not recognize them by name but they are definitely someone different and they feel cool when someone figures out who they are.
Isn’t that how real life is? We feel cool when someone figures out who we are.
While we might have laughed and smiled on Halloween as we ran around in our costumes as children, we somehow shed the desire to do that as adults. It is somehow not appropriate to pretend to be someone else for the day when we are no longer children. Who decided that? You may not have figured this out, but I am definitely one to push that boundary. I think it’s a silly boundary. Why? If you want to really learn how to love people and show them compassion, understand them.
If you want to understand them.... you got it... walk a day in their shoes.
Let’s choose a new person to be every day of the week. Let’s be a fireman on Monday, a baker on Tuesday, a doctor on Wednesday, a bus driver on Thursday, and a homeless person on Friday. We can be ourselves on the weekend and start the next week with a whole new set of people to become!
To really get into this we need to embrace the individuality of these people. What does your person eat for breakfast? Who is in their family? Do they have parents who are living? What challenges do they face on the job? What challenges do they face personally? Do they have hair they can comb? What makes them special? What joy do they feel and how do they express that? At the end of the day, what does their bed look like, smell like, feel like?
Welcome to the “Super Fun Club,” where people step into one another’s lives for a day and take pride in being recognized for who and what they are.
Imagine how much more rich your life will be at the end of the week. Imagine how much more compassion you will feel by Friday. Imagine how you might change the way you express yourself or interact with people.
Imagine how it will feel when you realize you are no different than every single one of those people.
I know... it may not be practical to dress up as and become someone new every day. But there is nothing to stop us from imagining we are someone else for a few moments in the day. We can still ask the questions above and begin to understand them. We can take the time to wonder what fear is at the root of their anger and pain. We can still imagine how love can change their lives. We can find the connection between all of us and recognize the light that connects us.
We can recognize our similarities, call ourselves by name, and feel cool.
The light that shines in you connects you to all other living things and even the people who have passed.
The fireman is you. The baker is you. The doctor is you. The bus driver is you.
The person living on the street... is you. I recognize you...
And you are cool.