Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl, Fishing and a Compliment

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.

20 comments:

Lynda G. said...

I will absolutely look for any and all opportunities to give a young person a compliment! HAPPY SUPERBOWL SUNDAY!

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Grayquill, great thought to start off the week. I gave my daughter a compliment today as she helped me bag my groceries. She's so organized and methodical. I told her, "You're going to be such a great mom someday." I just see that as something she will excel at. Hopefully she didn't take offense!

Arkansas Patti said...

Loved the post GQ and since I had a brother 10 years older, I know how much the older sibling influences us and how we blanketed them in hero worship.
You are so right about complimenting the young, especially teens who most often just hear negative comments as they try their parents patience and sanity.
No face lights up brighter than a teen who has been told he or she has done something good. Thanks for the reminder.

Pat said...

Affirmation...something we all need. I can see how this would stay with you, it's going to stay with me.
So many young people today are given every toy their parents can afford, but I wonder how many are given that verbal praise or affirmation? Just as your wrote in this great blog,it would last a liftime if they did.

Grayquill said...

Lynda G: I bet you have lots of opportunities in your work to give out compliments – one of those special people – aye? I had to throw that ‘aye’ in, it may be my favorite Canadian expression.

Roxane: I think people young and old know when a compliment is genuine or just flattery. Flattery is often exaggerated or not true. Good job mom.

Arkansas Patti: Your comments are so often filled with thought and life experiences. I so appreciate you! You nailed it about a teens face lighting up. I think they need someone to come along side and say, “Yes, you are going to be okay.”
Great Comment – Thanks

Pat: I know I received compliments before this moment but as you said, it has stayed with me. Hmmm…I guess maybe it came at a time when I needed it badly. But heck, I still love compliments – I think sometimes I love them too much.
Great comment!

Anita :) said...

What you said was true. Although I received lots of encouragement from home, somehow during my teenage years I developed some kinda complex and later buried it. But it resurfaces everytime someones words pass above it. However, a compliment or a word of encouragement by parents and especially sister - makes me what I am...and she is one single important person because of whom I still blog, do my pencil sketches and some level of dress designing for her. Siblings are a very powerful .. not only in childhood..but forever. :-)

Choco said...

"Ah well. Another post on sports. Men I tell you."- Choco's thoughts when she started reading this post.

Yes. I did not see a story about a young boy and the impact of companionship and encouragement, coming up when I started reading this post.
Hence I leave Gray's Musings, a much wiser person. Thanks! :)

blunt edges said...

u know u talk like a real wise (i didn't type 'old') man at times ;)

but i do agree with u...the early compliments do stay with u...especially the ones by elders in the family or 4 that matter elsewhere.

a very nice post indeed grayquill...have fun at the superbowl! :D

Grayquill said...

Anita: You understand :) Yes!

Choco: Oh how you stereotyped me – Ha! And, You are so very welcome :)

Blunt Edges: What compliment do you remember? I had great Super bowl fun, I had a nice nap.

Rose said...

Grayquill, thanks for the reminder that our words have such an effect on tender young hearts. Everyone is much more responsive to kindness.

Asif said...

I must say that you are indeed a good teacher. :)
Yes you are absolutely right about the appreciation and encouragement.
Whether it is early in life or later, such kind words always do have the capacity to create magic :)
Good to hear that you had a loving and caring brother.
Your post made me reminisce about my childhood summer holidays which I used to spend either in fishing (Angling) or pigeon flying.

Dianne said...

you made me remember a show Oprah did about the power of kind vs. harsh words - especially on children

when I was a child - yes Roadquill, I was once a child - I had a teacher who always said the meanest things to me
50 years later I still remember them

the gift of her unkindness however was that I always remember to tell a child how worthwhile they are

and adults too
and animals

and btw - you're looking especially handsome today Roadquill :)

blunt edges said...

n now when u ask me this, i can't seem 2 recollect a single one! damn!

just read the previous comment...ahem ahem...compliments are pouring in gray..er..sorry roadquill! ***cough cough***

Karthik said...

Having a baby brother who is ten years younger to me, I can so relate to this post. He always looks up to me and wants to be a part of everything I do. Boy, does it feel great?!!
Thanks for writing this post, sir. :)

Grayquill said...

Rose: Interesting how that kindness thing works..huh?

Asif: Magic…good description. Sorry to be so ignorant but what is pigeon flying?

Dianne: Did you read the post before this? It was 1/3 just for you:) I did not see that Opera show hmmm. BTW -. Just exactly how long ago were those childhood days? Just so you know I hate that teacher – was her name Mrs. Bro…. or Mr. Cotter…? I know you are telling the truth about your nice words because I have been on the receiving end many times – thank you!! Please don’t stop now.
And, thank you for very nice compliment even if you were being mean :) And yes, you are the best!

Blunt Edges: Yes, compliments are pouring in – did you really think I wrote this from some selfless place? Oh you foolish one. All that coughing are you okay? Don’t hurt yourself.

Karthik: I believe you will be a positive watermark on your brother’s life. I am really glad to here you like him.

The Survivor said...

That was a good one.

Complimenting someone young? Can I compliment myself :)

Even though I am the youngest I am made to feel older

Frank Baron said...

You've hit upon one of my biggest weaknesses as a parent and partner. I don't compliment often and it's a simple and terrific way to improve someone's day. Thanks for the reminder.

And thanks also for the kind words you've sprinkled my way. (I keep forgetting to check my comments moderation thingy and when I finally did, I came across the several COMPLIMENTS you left.)

A fine, thought-provoking post. <---compliment.

I'll be back.

Asif said...

Hey no need to be sorry for such a simple thing. Nobody in this world knows everything. :)
Infact I'll be glad to explain you clearly what that means and how we used to do that.
I'll be sending you a mail very soon.

Choco said...

7 days? This is the longest Grayquill has been away from his blog... Maybe we will get to hear some interesting tales when he gets back. :)

Holly Kay said...

Choco's right. Seven days is a long absence. There must be some exciting project under way. I just BET it's literary.

I love this post. It's so true that parents, teachers, and older siblings can make or break a child's whole world--at least for many years.