A Joke, a Quote, and a Question

December 01, 2016



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Isn't it strange what we remember?

I don't remember what my room looked like when I was 4. I literally can't remember ANY of the possessions I had at that age. I think I have vague memories of the property we lived on, but I can't tell if I actually remember it, or if later visits to the area helped me fill in the gaps.

I do remember the first joke I ever told, though. It wasn't a "Why'd the chicken cross the road?" type of joke. It was the kind of joke that happens when you say something funny on purpose, and everyone laughs.

I was 3 or 4 years old, and when our family got home from town, my Mom told my brothers and me to clean out the car.  "Take your time, and do a good job," she said. "I want EVERYTHING out of there!"

"Even the steering wheel?" I replied.

For whatever reason, my brothers thought this was absolutely hilarious, and we all got the giggles, and had a good long laugh.

I've (arguably) said lots of things in subsequent years that were much funnier than my pre-school steering wheel joke, so why is that specific statement such a vivid memory from my childhood?

I think I know, and I think it has a lot to do with the phenomenon described by Maya Angelou:

“...People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

My steering wheel joke was the first moment that I can remember feeling accepted. Always before, my brothers had laughed AT me, but not with me. This was the first time I felt as though I was a legitimate member of the crew.

At that moment, I felt valued by my brothers. Their laughter made me feel good, like I belonged.

I started thinking about that day, and the quote from Maya Angelou. It made me wonder how I make people feel. When does my introverted nature cause people to feel like they aren't important to me? When do my kids think I value my phone, more than I value having a conversation with them? When does my silence in hard situations come across as indifference to a hurting friend?

We can never fully know the answers to all of these questions, but we CAN at least be mindful of them when we interact with other people.

One of the places I interact with people the most is at my CrossFit box. 

As with any gym, there is typically a significant influx of new people around the 1st of the year.

How will we make them feel?

One way or another, people will feel SOMETHING when they visit your gym. What if we made them feel like they fit in? What if we made them feel hope by believing in them?  What if we made them feel like we couldn't wait to see them again? What if we made them feel strong, capable, confident...etc?

I think that would be a great way to be remembered.

Obviously we can't control everything about the way someone else feels, but as much as it is up to me, I'm going to do my very best to be remembered positively through this busy gym season.  I just hope they're nice enough to laugh at my jokes :)

Have a WONDERFUL day!

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P.S.  Thanks to everyone who helped us donate some jump ropes through our "Buy One Give One" promotion. Looks like you made Breanna feel pretty awesome!  Click below to design a custom jump rope for you, or someone you know!

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Ian Sturgeon
Ian Sturgeon

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