I learned at a very young age, by 10 for sure, about how to read people’s intentions. I was taught by my parents. We had a stand at a swap meet every weekend for the first 14 years of my life. I was told people fell into 3 general categories at the swap meet: people who wanted to buy, people who were just looking, and people who wanted to steal. They can all look the same. I don’t remember the exact words used to teach such a young child subtle differences in human behavior, but looking back I remember I had to feel the intent of each person; and do it quickly as there may be as many as 7-12 people in front of me at any given moment. I wanted to be sure and make sales, not get ripped off, and be polite to the looky-loos but not pay them much mind.
My parents are amazing people. The abilities and personal attributes I inherited from them I apply consistently. Be kind, be thoughtful, be determined, be aware, do what you can to contribute to the welfare of others, speak for those without a voice, recognize and appreciate every individual for their uniqueness, establish and maintain your own standards, be a little better every day, be a life-long learner, be charitable, be humble, love and support family and humanity, have joy and passion in what you do, never shy from a challenge, know your limitations but seek to expand and grow given an opportunity, do not judge others, talk to God every day, take initiative, own your responsibilities, take pleasure in the everyday little things, do everything as well as you can, be good to the earth, communicate openly and consistently, make plans – hope for the best but be prepared for the worst, value and maintain good friendships, play and have fun.
The person I am and hopefully continually improving to become, I believe is largely based on my experiences as a performer. My first roles were as son, younger brother of two older sisters, nephew, and cousin. Then I became a friend to others. Later I became a swap meet seller. My role as student was a challenge to many. Then I became a musician; first as an instrumentalist in the school band, then as singer in a rock band, next as a member of a Drum and Bugle Corps, and finally as a member of several church choirs. In between being in a Drum Corps and singing in choirs I became a teacher.
All the world’s a stage, and all men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts… – Shakespeare
Truer words have never been spoken. So many people see and live their lives in isolation or artificially segmented from each other. I see myself as being connected to everyone and everything. That is an exaggerated and over simplified statement, but that basically sums up my approach to life.
I make a difference; we all make a difference. My intent, every day, is to make a positive difference. It is really that simple. Start every day with love in your heart and a smile on your face and it will only get better from there.