I received a very kind message this morning from a classmate from high school. We weren’t particularly close, but shared many classes together over a span of four, five, maybe even six years.
He said some very kind things about the influence I had. It made me feel tremendous, and humbled that I could have that sort of positive impact that someone would remark upon it so far down the road.
But it also reminded me – again – that even when you think no one is looking, someone is always watching how you carry yourself.
I thought of a story I heard from Sarah Cannon – “Minnie Pearl” from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville – while an employee at Opryland many years ago. She spoke of a rainy afternoon matinee she and her troupe were performing in front of five or six people in the audience. The performance was bad, the talent didn’t really give their all, and she remembered simply “phoning in” the effort. One of the members of the small audience was a scout for the Broadway show “Oklahoma.” Needless to say, she didn’t land a role. She wondered for years how things might have gone had she just remembered – someone is always watching.
Before school this morning, I shared the message from my friend with my ten year old, to let him know that people take notice of the way we treat people, how hard we work, the deeds – good or bad – that we do. Even when we think no one is looking.
Life isn’t always fair.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t do some small amount of lasting good just by being the best people we can be; for ourselves, and for those observing how we choose to live.