I spoke recently to a seventh grader who was telling me that her school has a minute of silence each morning to acknowledge the suffering of the Native Americans who were displaced – and many slaughtered – who used to live where her school is now. At first I was skeptical. Skeptical that one minute really meant anything, that this practice is impactful in any way. Then she told me two things that really made an impression:
- “It’s really not much of a sacrifice considering what they lost”
- “The Native kids at my school say we should keep doing it.”
That’s how I relearned a few very important lessons.
- One minute may not seem like much but make something a habit – even for one minute – and it can shape your beliefs and behaviors.
- What I think of someone else’s tradition or effort isn’t what matters – it’s what they think of it that counts. Conversely, it doesn’t matter what others think of how I spend my minutes, what is important is the impact it has on me and my beliefs and behavior.
- I could be using my minutes more intentionally. Even just one of them.
This week was Memorial Day in the US and I must say that I think it is our very worst “holiday.” Most Americans miss the mark in honoring our fallen service members, even going so far as to wish each other “Happy Memorial Day.” I was surprised to learn – just this year – that for decades there has been a movement to observe a National Moment of Remembrance at 3pm. This was established in 1971 and I’m curious if you knew about it or saw anyone observing it. I’ve been honored to be in a country that stops absolutely everything for a two minute siren and moments of silence on their Memorial Day and I have to tell you, it’s impactful. All cars come to a stop on the highways and people exit their car to stand outside in stillness. Waiters stop with dishes in their hands. Nurses stand still and hold the hands of patients who likewise stop speaking. At the end of the two minutes, many people need to dry their tears, strangers hug and shake hands, prayers of thanks or sadness are offered.
Minutes are powerful.
Here is my challenge to myself and to you: what could you do with one minute each day?
I’m going to try one minute of stillness each morning and see what happens. I’m going to set my phone alarm for 7:30a and take one minute to sit quietly and breathe.
What will you do? Hit reply and tell me. It’s only one minute, after all, and I think it just might change things for the better.
For everyone in the military or a military family, I thank you deeply. One person volunteers but the whole family serves.
All my best,