The last thing my son, Jonah, said as I looked at him in the rearview mirror was,
“I am going to have fun with this.”
Then he shut the back hatch and walked into school sporting his black cape, white gloves and face half-painted white (a clever way to get around the no mask rule for Costume Day).
Schools in the United States have a couple of weeks each year of Spirit Week. These fundraising weeks typically have a theme for each day. Whether during one of these theme days, or some other occasion, a Costume Day at a school is a fairly common experience and may not seem like fodder for a discussion on leadership. Perhaps, you will see it as my excuse to brag about my son. So be it.
The thing I admired about Jonah’s approach to the day was his initiative and intentionality. It wasn’t on a grand scale but sometimes it is the small choices we make that determine the difference between regret and fond memories. As soon as Jonah heard the day was coming, he was asking me if he could get on Amazon to search for a Phantom of the Opera cape. He had his backup plan with the Jedi costume his mom helped him make a couple of years ago in case his package didn’t arrive on time and he got the face paint picked out in case it did.
You have to know Jonah to know why his phrase struck me. Jonah is my time keeper. He cannot stand to be late. He would make friends with a telephone pole if there wasn’t another person around to meet but he is not big on drawing attention to himself. He is all business when he gets dropped off at school. Micah and I kid him because he is silent when he gets out of the car most days. Grab the backpack and viola and get in the school quickly.
The takeaway for me was how he said,
“I’m going to have fun with this.” Not “This is going to be fun.”
He wasn’t passively showing up for the day and waiting for someone else to make it fun, or to be blamed if it was not. He made his mind up as soon as he heard the day was coming that he would make the day fun. I thought of something Charles Swindoll said when talking about the importance of attitude.
“I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.”
At 3pm, he was still in the cape and most of the face paint had survived the day. We had a good discussion about the importance of jumping in and participating. About a third of the students showed up in costume. For the rest, it was just another day that will blend in to the next. The cape is now hanging next to the Jedi robe as part of the growing costume wardrobe, and for Jonah, the day will be a highlight in his memory because he made it that way intentionally.
Make today a great day.