When the Guard Keeps You Up

I may be a perky motivational speaker on stage, but at home in the morning, I am a hard-core drill sergeant. After my sing song “get-out-of-bed-sleepy-head” routine, it is GO TIME.

Typically, I bark orders at my elementary school babes, push blueberries, search for papers I need to sign, throw together lunches and try to tame my daughter’s wild lion’s mane (anyone have ideas for curly hair care?).

It doesn’t get much better when we hit the road. We take the “back way” to school which is crazy because everyone else does too. It’s a perilous obstacle course – dodging parked cars, observing annoying driving etiquette rules (you go first, no you go first, no you, wave, smile, repeat), while simultaneously quizzing my son on his spelling words.

Then I see HIM.

Mr. Alton (cue singing angels). He is the crossing guard behind our school.

Looking like a  handsome skinny Santa, he smiles broadly and greets all the kids. Yelling, “Hey, I sure do like those socks!” and “I’m so glad to see you this morning!”

On Fridays he high fives everyone and exhorts, “Get excited for a great day!”

Purposely, I slow down to catch his eye so I can wave and catch some of his morning happiness. Just the sight of Mr. Alton brings a smile to my face and to all who encounter him.

And just like that, I AM ready for a great day. How did he do that?

It occurred to me that Mr. Alton is the keeper of what I like to call the ‘Good Mood Commitment,’ except he takes it one step further. The Good Mood Commitment is when you tell yourself that you are in a good mood for the first 2 hours of the day. When time is up, you are in an authentic good mood. Not only does Mr. Alton say it, he acts like it too and at the end of his shift, he is in full bloom goodness. And fortunately for me and for all those he encounters, his good mood and positive attitude are wonderfully contagious.

It makes me wonder — how do people feel when they see me?  How does my greeting affect others? Am I the fountain or the drain? Good questions for us all to ask.

Thanks Mr. Alton, for all the great days!