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Four Life Lessons from the Police Station—Volume II

I try to follow the law, but once again found myself at the police station Saturday. . .

. . . for the Kirkwood Police Department Open House!

My second appearance at this annual community showcase, I applied my insights from the 2018 event in hopes of creating a more successful display this year.

So, to build on those learnings and to keep this blog’s tradition alive, here are 2019’s four life lessons from the police station:

  1. Simple works.

Sometimes the creative phase yields too complicated a vision to execute successfully. That was 2018’s police open house.

I’d brought an unsteady gratitude tree that was impressive in concept but ended up shedding “leaves.” And the multi-step instructions for adding a gratitude note sometimes confused people.

Plus, my display housed so many items that I couldn’t even get them to the car in one trip. A major inconvenience when storm clouds suddenly arrived.

So this year I did it carry-on style—one lightweight bag and one poster board, equaling one trip to the car. My table still delivered the We Bold Souls message, but it was simple in design and concise in instruction.

It’s the same with the Be Present. Be Grateful.TM message and symbol—simple design and concept because simple works.

Applying this lesson:

Are you delaying the next step in life because it all seems too complicated? Simplify the solution by focusing on a straightforward first step, which leads to the second lesson . . .

2.  Start with what you know; do better when you know better.

As Charlotte (my 9-year-old) and I walked from the parking lot to the police station, we talked about how this year we know how to do things better. (She’d helped me set up last year, too.)

But, I told her, if we wait until we think we know everything and have it all planned “perfectly,” we’ll never start. Because perfection doesn’t exist.

Do I know more about mindfulness this year than last? Yes. But last year, I knew what I knew. And I knew it was worth sharing. And this year, I had even more to offer.

Starting with what you know trumps starting when you think you’re perfectly ready.

Applying this lesson:

Is there something you know that can help others? Begin sharing it before the five-year plan’s in place, funding’s secured, and your book tour’s been set.

3.  Point your efforts toward those who appreciate you.

I was prepared for the wind this year, but it still threatened to scatter my giveaways: respect and perseverance notecards. So instead of people walking by and unconsciously grabbing the free stuff, I kept them tucked in a box out of view, giving them only to those who were genuinely interested.

There’s an apt Navajo Proverb that says,

“You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.”

And you may not be able to wake a person in a deep sleep. Instead, aim for those who are searching for whatever feeling or wisdom or connection you’re offering.

Applying this lesson:

Are you spending time with people ignoring or oblivious to your gifts? If so, try shifting your focus until the right people come into view.

4.  Enjoy the game.

A homemade presence and gratitude board game, complete with giant inflated dice and tiny police players, was the star of my table. Why?

Because it’s fun, and we learn better when we’re having fun.

It’s the same with life. Though not as simple as spinning a wheel and collecting pink and blue pegs in your plastic car, real life’s even more enjoyable than The Game of Life.

And if we’re not enjoying it, are focused only on winning, or are just trying to match the other players’ status level, we’ve missed the point of playing.

Applying this lesson:

Are you enjoying life? If not, try adding gratitude—a source of joy—to your everyday moments.

So what’s the big conclusion from Volume II? Life continually teaches us. Our job as students is to enjoy our schooldays, support those reaching for help, and share what we’ve learned so our classmates can ace the final exam.

It’s that simple.

Curious about the first set of lessons? Read that article by clicking here: Four Life Lessons from the Police Station, and leave your comments on either post below!