So, I was raised with the value of leaving things nicer than I found them. Of course, I consciously try to do this every day. Be it a smile, kind word, gesture or humorous quip, I try to make a difference in the affect of the individuals with whom I interact. I like to think of it as behavioral residue. We all leave an impression, and sometimes those impressions stick. Today I discovered an imprint I might have inadvertently created. Luckily, I believe it was a good one.
This morning I had to do the car shuffle, rearranging vehicles in our driveway so I could get to the airport. I always cringe when I have to get into our old van, now used by my second born child – probably because I remember what the inside of my own car looked like when I was his age. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad. However, the real shock hit me when I started the vehicle. “And that was Frank Sinatra, Swinging on a Star. We will be right back with the Count Basie Orchestra right after this break.” It seems my twenty-one year old son was listening to the standards. Apparently, he picked up some musical residue I spread in that van.
Unfortunately, I’ve left other types of residue I’m not proud of, as well – sarcasm, black-cloud moodiness, defensiveness – and I gift-wrapped my own “last word” inclination with a beautiful bow for my son Micah and gave it to him in bulk. Yes. We leave behind pieces of ourselves everywhere we go. We leave a trail of our emotions and behaviors, which I believe have a strong impact on others.
Life is short, so I am going to keep trying to leave things better than I found them. We’re human, which means we are not perfect. However, given the climate of the world we live in, I can’t help think how different things could be if we each worked harder to purposefully leave behind positive behavioral residue in hopes it will spread.