Friday, April 3, 2020

Seeking Inspiration, My 7-Yr-Old Pal Reminds: You Get What You Give

—Dateline Bryan, TX, 2 April 2020

My 7-Yr-Old Pal and I reconnected this evening via Facebook Messenger for Kids. For those of you who haven’t heard of this yet, it’s a great means of parents being able to set up a specific portal for children to be able to see and hear their friends on Facebook Instant Messaging, but they don’t have to have their own Facebook accounts. It also gives parents direct and total control over who their children have access to speak with, and his wonderful Mom included me on the approved list.

It’s been 8 weeks since we last saw each other at his younger brother’s birthday party. How much he’s grown! I don’t know how parents manage as well as they do to keep children clothed and fed as my pal has added at least two inches. Some more of his big boy teeth have appeared and his smile is even broader now. But all children grow so quickly! You blink and…one day he’ll be my attorney (maybe), or perhaps I’ll be traveling to his NBA games. Either way, it’s all good.

His hair was not styled in the way I’ve been used to seeing and as if sensing my thoughts, he volunteered, “You know all the haircut places are closed right now.” I smile at his intelligence in constructing clearly factual statements so young. But I’m used to that from him, so no surprise.

Thanks to Kids Messenger, he was broadcasting from up in the children’s playroom. He asked if I’d like to watch him play basketball and my answer was “Absolutely!” He was trying to get me to say “Sure,” but I didn’t fall for his ploy. It costs me $.10 every time I say that word, based on a prior challenge we’d cooked up.

I was watching his dunking technique and seeing when he was successful and when he was not, and I made one small suggestion “to see if it might work” and he was delighted when he did. He was sort of celebrating the dunk before assuring it dropped through…not uncommon when your faves on TV do that. He made his adjustment like a pro and we still celebrated.

Next, to underscore my point I pulled up YouTube of Alex Caruso (former Aggie player now with the Los Angeles Lakers (whoop!) and showed his dunking technique. Now how I did this was to turn my camera the other direction so he could watch the big screen and he paid attention. We watched the entire thing together.

He said, “I remember Alex Caruso. When I was little, I got to see him play!” Yes. He. Did. His recall is phenomenal and it’s always a joy to explore memories with him. Like a sponge, he absorbs every nuance, correctly.

And he said, “Would you like to see my new basketball shoes?” and the answer was “I would love to!” and then he said, “Okay, pull them up on your computer, I’ll tell you the style they are.”

I did a search and found a pair and it said they were available for $1,145.00 and he said, “Oh, that’s not right, go look at Foot Locker and in the kids section." "What size?" "2y." Awwww my 7-yr-old pal is already into the single digit threshold of growing boys feet…too precious. But his discerning skills were equally precious. He knew that the pair I’d pulled up was a collector’s item or something priced incorrectly.

I went over to the Foot Locker site and as he said, I saw the Jordan’s, or specifically the Jordan AJ 1 Mid.

We then began a discussion of shoes. The thing that surprised me was that his favorite player is Steph Curry and he does have the exact blue Warriors type shoes that Steph endorses but he’s actually outgrown those. He also loves the Jordans and the KD Trey 5s…that’s code for Kevin Durant.

I remembered that Kevin had joined the Oklahoma City Thunder out of college and my pal added, “That’s right and then he was a Golden State Warrior for a while but now he’s with Brooklyn.” I didn’t know KD was with Brooklyn. My new ESPN source knew, though.

We spent a good twelve minutes on my looking up different shoes, searching for some customizable ones with potential, his announcing that they were the “best ever” but if they were not available in his size, he said, “There are other brands and models that I like. Let's look for some with blue and red on them.” "Okay," I said, and it went like that.

He’s flexible and I like that. Bodes well for his future. He is also price-conscious and prefers the ones on sale. You have to love him. He’s aware of the word “budget” and respects that.

We discussed a lot more about basketball, and then our connection stopped and we got disconnected. I waited and he called me back on FaceTime on his iPad. He said, “I guess I’d exceeded my allowed time on Kids Messenger and it knocked our call off.” Hmm, I know and love dear adults who couldn’t have come up with that assessment so quickly. He continued, “I believe that happened to me once before and Mom said that might have been how it happened.” He’s a sponge, I tell you. But he found a workaround on his FaceTime. Love his ingenuity when he’s on a mission.

I told him that I’d kept his giant box that he made when he was here last year (until February it stayed in my back room and then I’d moved it to the office I’d outgrown in the back and finally it went to the garage).

He said, “I’d like to see it” so I went to the garage, phone in hand, and showed him. He didn’t doubt my word because he trusts me to always tell him the truth but he really just wanted to remember what it looked like.

I showed him the two parts I had to separate it into because it would not have fit in limited available space. He was fine with that.

He said, “Did you keep the mailbox, too?” I said, “Yes, but it’s in the back office.” “Okay, let’s see that, too.” “Okay,” I said and marched back to the back office. I said, “I have your mail waiting right here for you,” and he said, “How about my money from the fines?” I laughed and pointed the camera at the bottom of the little mailbox sprinkled with dimes and nickels and quarters I’d been assessed for saying “Sure.” He laughed sweetly and asked me a question, but I was on guard…I said, “You’re trying to get me to say that word that costs me, aren’t you?” "Yes," he giggled and I said, “Good try.” We continued in conversation and I swear I was not focused when I replied “Sure” to another question he asked. “Ten cents please” would be the charge and I just smiled to myself and put my hands on a dime to add.

I liked that it was important to him to see as best he could what he’d built on his last visit. The project we were going to do went out the window when he spotted the boxes. His creative process is so intuitive; and my job is to answer his questions about “Can we” and “Do you have?” for supplies and tools. We did a real number on a pair of office scissors against the cardboard last time but they were the safest thing for him to wield…no Exacto knives or box cutters at this age. Not yet.

We then discussed a book series that he is still following and he had me go through Amazon to see what he already had read and what was new. He knew which ones I’d given him by title and the ones from his Uncle and then one he’d purchased on his own. This child. That mind. Brilliant. It’s because his mind is not bogged down with worry and fear and long-range concerns. He can live in the moment and give it his all.

In about 25 minutes’ time he turned my mood from pensive and serious into relaxed and creative. I worked to complete a project that took much of the day but I was in a far better mood when I dove back into it. His wisdom brings me joy. The perception he has at this young age, plus his empathy and compassion for others and patience is like no other. Even when his little brother wanted to interrupt what he was doing, he didn’t raise his voice and yell at him. Simply, he said, “Now, don’t do that. I’m doing something here so you find something else to do.” See why I’m over the moon about him? He thinks before he speaks. He answers with love, not accusation. Certainly there are times when he can likely lose patience and be like a regular boy, without wings, but those times seem few and far between.

Before I call it a night this Monday, I just have to share some of the great things I learned today. Much work was done, beginning very early this morning after a somewhat late night on the Book of Faces last night, having what I call “too much fun” connecting with people. It may seem to you that many people from your “past” are popping up with IM’s, checking in, saying hello, and in general, remembering you with their time and interest.

For some it’s a cursory check-in to see how you are, and with others, it’s the memories of time that have urged them to stand in your queue and wait for you to see they’re present. It’s been a nice time. It’s also a time of purging people who, for one reason or another, contribute nothing positive to their own lives or anyone else’s. The saying “ain’t got time for that” applies there. I’ve owned my own business since 1993, and I’m used to working from home, so every day is just like every other day, except I can’t enjoy meals with friends at restaurants. Yet, drive-thrus are open and creative options abound. Several of us are in #triviateamwithdrawal I have to admit.

Over the weekend I had one computer monitor fizzle on me, and I was shocked that Office Depot didn’t have a single monitor in stock that I needed. Neither did Huntsville, Conroe, or even Montgomery, TX. Ridiculous. Add computer monitors to toilet paper on the list of items people went nutty over in shopping. Makes sense when they live on their laptops for short work spans but now they’re working from home, that’s too much time to spend staring at a little screen. I know. Hence the run on monitors. Fortunately, I found a good deal at and it was in stock, so I’m back in business with three screens, these days the minimum I can function with.

Why three screens? It’s because I have at least 20 browser tabs open at all times as I truly NEED them open. Many browsers are holding a single fact, citation, reference or other critical piece of information that I don’t want to waste time writing down. So, the tab stays open until I can add the fact in to whatever I’m writing and once it’s cited and the link embedded, boom, tab closed. As of 1 am, I still have 26 tabs open. Quite the challenge to “Mission Control,” the system that seemingly takes longer to react than the split-second timing I’m used to. It’s overtasked, I realize. I can’t change my browsing ways, though.

Browsing leads to creativity, the “what-if” factor that people always seek in creating new things, whether articles, blog posts, songs, or anything else new, all boils down to asking, “What if?” And the inspiration of happy children is a perfect means to be lifted, up and out, of the morass of moronic activities that people undertake in the absence of intelligent thought.

Hence the benefit in the uplifting perspective of a child to erase the memories of adults who don’t make sense or who act out of unkind intent. And here it is Friday night, a day later with today’s news bringing even more developments that make me shake my head. At least I have Kids Messenger to look forward to in days ahead, and to all whose children infuse the world with brilliant young minds and happy faces, you know what I mean. More of following their lead. And now if you’ll excuse me, I need to put all of my pal’s nickels and dimes into a Ziplock so I can mail them to him. I’m really cheered now. In fact, thanks to my 7-yr-old pal, I was reminded: We get what we give. He always gives his best to all the people in the world whom he loves, not just me. He always shares love so generously. And then I remembered that song by the New Radicals…

“But when the night is falling And you cannot find the light If you feel your dream is dying Hold tight You’ve got the music in you Don’t let go You’ve got the music in you One dance left This world is gonna pull through”
Indeed it will. Thank you Hunter, I love you.