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Things I have learned - Give me the adjectives

By Bill D. Ward

Today’s Wisdom: Do your little bits of good where you are. It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. Desmond Tutu

I recently received one of those long-anticipated, or perhaps for some, long-dreaded notices of my upcoming high school reunion. My class has faithfully gathered every five years since 1968. Maybe I should actually say about half of my class has gathered. There are a few we haven’t seen much of since graduation night.

It has now been 55 years that we have all been loose on the streets. All in all, I’d say we have done a pretty good job of becoming real people. At least none of us have done jail time.

I still have class photos from kindergarten. Way back then we were not much more than little people with potential. No one had a clue what any of us would become. It would be fun now to take those photos and write over each kid what they ultimately turned into. The picture would be covered with “engineer,” “teacher,” “pilot,” “deputy sheriff,” and many more professions.

But those are just notes on what we did. Would that really define us properly? The more relevant task might be to fill that photo with notes like “kind,” “generous,” “great father,” “compassionate,” or “hard working.” Everyone has a job, but not everyone earns an honorable adjective.

I am thinking that we are best when we live our lives for the adjectives. Nouns don’t have as much attraction to them. We don’t gather friends because of what people do in life. We gather friends because of the kind of people they are in their relationship with those around them.

The odd thing is that many of us went to college after graduation to gain skills to become nouns. I don’t remember one class in college or high school that trained me to become adjectives. Do we have it backwards?

This feels like I am getting awfully close to political commentary. I’m not supposed to do that here, so I won’t. But I just wonder what our world would be like if we trained for adjectives, starting in kindergarten. Hmmm. I’m just sayin.’

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