When I was about 6 or 7 my Dad was assigned to Greece where we lived for 3 years in a little town outside of Athens. I got to know a few Greek boys my age and we’d play together sometimes. I didn’t speak Greek and they didn’t speak English but somehow we managed to communicate enough to hang out together. One day I rode my bike to meet the guys and because they didn’t have bikes, which were expensive and weren’t toys but were what some adults (maybe their fathers) rode to work or used to carry things, they all wanted to try and ride mine. A few days later one of the Greek boys brought with him a metal hoop that he made roll down the street controlled with a stick. Sort of like a vertical hula hoop. I was fascinated and tried my hand at controlling the hoop. I wasn’t very good at it. Anyway, the Greek boy communicated that he wanted to trade my bike for his hoop. I was all for it since bikes weren’t new to me but the hoop was and that’s all the thought I put into this proposed trade.
That evening I discussed this with my parents and in that discussion was the beginning of two realizations that have served me well to this day. First was the realization that the Greek boy and I were, at our core, basically the same and that most all people are basically the same in what they want for themselves or their family. The second realization was about gratitude. I was fortunate that my parents could afford to buy a bike for me and as I thought about that, I realized that I should be grateful not only for the bike but for all the things I had and could look forward to.
Are you grateful for all that you have and can look forward to?
I think the Greek boy’s family must have had a similar discussion with him. We didn’t trade toys but he got better at riding my bike and I got better at controlling his hoop. And I learned something important along the way.