Mr Rogers, Basketball, and Giant Teddy Bears

It’s July. Half the year is gone and it seems like we’ve been in a weird stasis mode for most of it.

We got away last week, exchanging our four walls for different walls and so we could get a break. And while there we watched two movies that made me think, and when we got back I read a blog that spoke to me.

The first movie was Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood. Do you remember Mr Rogers? My wife, being British, wasn’t familiar with him. But we both thought Tom Hanks did a wonderful job. It is a beautiful movie very much about the human capacity for emotion of every kind.

Lesson: pay attention. Be where you are, with the person you’re with. Making people feel heard and cared for is sometimes as easy as truly being with them in the moment. Also, be gentle with yourself. Life is hard and it’s okay to hurt; don’t let it make you hard. Be kind.

The other movie was Finding Forrester. This was a favourite of mine back in 2000, and it remains so today. A writer (Sean Connery) has shut himself off from the world, and develops a friendship with a gifted Black teenager from a tough neighbourhood. It’s an absolute feel good film that tugs on the heartstrings.

Lesson: it’s easy to let the world get you down. “You spend years pouring your blood and soul into creating something and someone who has never written anything worth reading tears it apart in a day.” (Or something very like that). But you don’t just give up. You work harder, you prove them wrong. You drink in the world and you live. And family can be found in the most unexpected friendships.

The blog, Be, Love, Live is by someone whose writing I’ve admired for a long time. In this one she writes about how this year has been so hard, but we’re heading into the second half of it, and so much of our experience is shaped by how we choose to view life.

Lesson: see the good stuff. Cultivate the good stuff even in the new way of living. Because there is good stuff. Help other people smile. Be grateful for what you can, and use positive words instead of negative ones. For instance, I’m impressed y the ingenuity of small businesses who are finding ways to open and stay safe, like the place using giant teddy bears at tables to help separate people in a less depressing way. Seek out the good. Share it. Send it. Be someone who helps people feel less alone. This is our chance to build real connections; let’s not miss it.

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