My holiday vacation started last week. With some extra time off, my teenage son and I met my husband for lunch one afternoon at PF Changs (they offer a gluten free menu!). After eating, the boys opened their fortune cookies and ate them. As always, I opened my cookie (not gluten free) and read the fortune. It said,
"Your example will inspire others."
Whoa! I read this fortune and felt a heavy sense of responsibility. As one person, I have the ability to smile at a person I pass, to say a kind word to a stranger, to open a door for another, to hug my family, to empty the dishwasher with a smile rather than a complaint, to change a negative conversation to a positive one......oh my gosh, the list goes on and on and on.
This fortune reminded me of a quote I found when my kids were young and one that I have read over and over again:
“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.”
As my family and I have some down time together this holiday season and make our way out into the world, I am going to keep this reminder close to me. I am going to challenge myself to be an inspiration to others. I have put this tiny strip of paper in my wallet as it is opened frequently and allow it to be a reminder of the responsibility I have each day in every action I make.