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Help beat back the 'hates'

We meet characters in our every-day lives and they become “the pages of our stories,” my publisher friend Kathy said. In my not too distant past, I met a superhero disguised as an elementary teacher. His “character” has stayed with me. I wrote about him for the local newspaper and I’ve incorporated a story about him in my book, “Gathering: Homespun Essays from Beech Tree Lane.”

And, on this day of “love,” I want to talk about him, again – sort of. How far out of the norm am I, are you, willing to go to help someone have a better day? How do I, you, set up happiness for the next guy?

Here we are in the week of love. Valentine's Day 2020. The question is how do I, you, beat back the "hates?" The hates are those things that annoy us, aggravate us to no end, and set our last nerve on edge. “Hates” usually arrive one on top of another.

"I hate my hair. I hate my clothes. I hate my freckles..." "I hate waking up early. I hate eating eggs." You get the picture. "Hates" are not real hates, just nuisances we allow to get to us.

So again, I ask, what do we do about them? This teacher dressed each day as a character. The Hulk. A mouse. Superman. Etc. He made it his mission to beat back the "hates" for the children who gathered each day to attend the school where he taught. He didn't want them, or the parents, or his co-workers to "hate" coming to school. (You can read my essay about him in my book “Gathering: Homespun Essays from Beech Tree Lane.”)

A good start is the first 97 percent of having a successful day, he said. When I met him, he was The Hulk. Whatever his attire, he fought the “hate” with the giggles. Mr. Skinner wasn’t always a teacher. He was once a kid who had a terrible school phobia. He remembered the scars.

How far out of the norm am I, are you, willing to go to help someone have a better day? Happy beat back the "hates" day!

(Found this old photo of Grandson Xander with the Hulk. Always good to know someone's got our backs!)

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