This week I attended an awards presentation at Candeo School, a charter school in Peoria, Arizona. As a grandfather or Opa, as my grandchildren call me, I wanted to see my granddaughter Tessa receive her R.E.A.C.H. award. She is in first grade. This award is a big deal at Candeo. It was an honor and a surprise for her. One student per month from each class receives it.
I like what R.E.A.C.H. stands for. R is respect. E is effort. A is alacrity. C is cooperation. H is heart. The student who is awarded for these five attributes that month receives a certificate and has muffins and good stuff with the principle in her office. Tessa stood with awe in front of all the classes from kindergarten through sixth grade. She was amazing (Opa’s say stuff like that).
But I couldn’t help but notice the word alacrity. I understood the other words and their concepts but what does alacrity mean? My daughter informed me… “brisk and cheerful readiness.” Someone with alacrity shows cheerful willingness and eager behavior, like a kid whose mother has told him he can buy anything in a candy store. Alacrity resonated with me. After all, most everyone at one time or another who knows me has called me Tigger, the ready and willing tiger in Winnie the Pooh. In fact, Tigger is featured with me in my Face Book page.
These five ideals are right from the Bible but I’m using regular language so everyone can benefit. I’m approaching this subject like an engineer would. An optimist sees the glass as half full. A pessimist sees the glass as half empty. An engineer sees the glass as half as big as it needs to be.
Engineer a better future, with good, solid ideas that take you from A to B with alacrity! Now is not the time for the negativity of a pessimist or the hyperbole of the naive optimist. Benjamin Disraeli once said; “I am prepared for the worst but hope for the best.” George Patton said: “Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom.” Enjoy yourself. These could be the “good old days” you’re going to miss in the years to come.
Walk though life with a twinkle in your eye, a smile on your face, with a great purpose in your heart and the brisk and cheerful readiness to do it. I know this may sound like psycho rhetoric to you but it’s true. Consider the alternative. Would you rather walk through life with no twinkle, no smile, no purpose and no alacrity? A life without purpose and alacrity is like a dull pencil, it has lost its point. Abraham Maslow warns us of the consequences of a life which has lost its twinkle: “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” Henry Ford says: “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”
Overcoming obstacles often starts with something simple like reducing life down to the basics. Daniel Boone said: “All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse and a good wife.” I wouldn’t dare comment on the order of his quote, but, get the concept. I’ll quote Konrad Adenauer here: “We all live under the same sky, but we all don’t have the same horizon.” Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier. What is needed to do that? Alacrity, enhanced with power from God.
What do you do in crisis times? You have patience. The secret to patience is to do something else in the meantime. You plant now for the harvest you desire later. Don’t lose your confidence or alacrity. Stan Smith says: “Experience tells you what to do; confidence allows you to do it.”
So, the twinkle, the smile and the great purpose could be a new beginning to your next life. Make your ‘next’ your ‘now’ by starting now. The first step to starting and finishing anything efficiently is often alacrity.
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