Monday night, Wil and I stopped at the convenience store on the way home from his Music Together class to pick up some milk. Wil also picked out a small bottle of lemonade.
As we were waiting in line to buy our milk and lemonade, there was a tall man standing in line ahead of us. Wil walked over to him, stretched up his arm holding his lemonade, and with a big smile said, “I have lemonade!”
The man looked down at Wil, and without pause, held out his can of iced tea, and said, “I have iced tea. And its sweet!”
Wil responded with, “Very nice!”
By now, everyone in line was watching, and there were smiles all around.
Then, a man walked up to stand in line behind us. He had a muscle shirt on, both arms covered in tattoos. But the tattoos were not what Wil noticed. Wil was focused on his baseball cap…Wil is obsessed with hats.
So, Wil says, “Cool hat!”
The guy chuckles and thanks him. Then Wil holds up his lemonade and says, “Its sweet!”
Just moments ago, everyone was soberly standing in line, absorbed in their own thoughts. Now, both lines of people in the store are smiling at Wil and each other.
I love how Wil’s disposition has the power to change the dynamic of a room in a heartbeat. He simply doesn’t meet a stranger, and is quick to share a smile or a compliment.
Wil finds the good or creates fun in everything. Even if we walk into a big, empty room, he’ll find something that is “beautiful” or “pretty.”
It’s amazing how just a little bit of this kind of attitude has such a big effect.
It’s no coincidence that people with this kind of positive disposition live happier lives. It’s not because their life is easier than anyone else’s, it’s just that they make a point of focusing on what is positive, or creating positive in negative situations.
Wil’s life is not easy, he has to work very hard for his achievements. He gets overwhelmed, frustrated and upset. But, he doesn’t linger in that place.
He finds small glimmers of light, and that is what he focuses on.
If we are reading a book, and he is having a hard time, he will get mad and stubborn. Then, he will see a word he knows, and read that word, then feel proud of himself. That gives him renewed energy to start again.
With Wil’s cheerful disposition, people want to be with him, and to help him where he needs it. At school, he is not able to run as fast as his peers on the playground, but there are always kids who ask him if they can push him on the swing. His communication skills may lag behind his peers, but there are always kids who approach him to sit with them at the lunch table.
Sure, not all kids are this friendly, and Wil has had experience with mean kids, who are angry, and find pleasure in degrading Wil. The special thing about Wil is, he will not respond in anger. He simply doesn’t understand that kind of hatred, so just walks away or ignores it. He does nothing to fuel or give justification to the anger.
Wil may be 6, but he already has a lot of life figured out. He knows that there is always good. Sometimes it is right there in front of us, sometimes we have to look hard for it, and sometimes we have to create it ourselves. In doing so, we not only lift ourselves up, but lift up the spirits of those around us.