Can a person even be an American and skip the Superbowl? I don’t think so. I don’t follow professional sports much. In fact, I had to ask twice this week who was playing who and I already forgot who is playing the Saints.
Football does savor a soft spot in me though. It was 1965 maybe 66, I am not really sure. My oldest Brother RC was just back from Vietnam. The summer months sped by with him picking up my brother and me every Saturday morning in his new silver Mustang –sweet! The routine was always the same my younger brother, M, and I would dig the worms, make the sandwiches and take turns riding shotgun. The hour plus drive to Mt. Index, the left hand turn off Highway 2 brought us to the river, our river at least it felt that way. We fished all morning, maybe panned for a little gold, and after lunch, about 1:00 my brother RC would take a nap in the sun. M and I would meander up and down the river looking for periwinkles. The worms were long gone and fishing for 8 inch trout at age 12 was mighty important work. I don’t recall catching that many fish but I do remember RC letting me drive that new Mustang on those gravel roads. I remember him teaching me how to pan for gold, I remember getting knocked on my butt shooting his shotgun but most of all I remember he liked me. No, he never let me take the Mustang out of 1st gear – he wasn’t crazy.
Summer ended, school started and Saturday brought watching college football with RC. I don’t remember much else about that age but having a brother eight years older is about like having a god in the house. You see, anything he did, I wanted to be right there with him.
This brother had a soft spot in his heart for me; at least I still like thinking he did. He gave me my first job job as a helper building houses. The first compliment I can remember receiving came from him. I laugh now because his boss had told him he liked working with me because I had the good sense to hold a board. Usually it was just me and my brother siding houses in a large housing development. But, then one day we moved to an apartment complex and I was assigned to work with the boss. Six inch beveled siding, an entry way, and the boss held up a board. Without being told I held the other end. Pretty insignificant but he thought that I had good sense and told my brother who then told me. At fourteen with buck teeth, skinnier than a rail, pimples all over may face, and every subject at school a struggle especially if much reading was required…a simple compliment was something I laid in bed at night recalling with delight.
The lesson of a compliment is an important thing. I hope you will look for an opportunity this week to see the good in a young person, then tell him/her. It may be the first compliment they will remember receiving, your words have more power than you might think.