Mutual Admiration Society · 26 November 2016
Photo courtesy of Peggy Filer
Peggy Filer is a friend and co-worker who said I should start my own mutual admiration society. Actually, she just said she was texting her siblings, nieces, nephews, and others just to tell them that she was grateful for them. And she said to try it to see if the results were as entertaining as hers were. Or something like that.
I have known Peggy for twenty-something years. She teaches health and teaches all the freshmen about being safe and healthy. She tells them to make good choices and to be safe and healthy. Those are her sign offs. “Make good choices,” or “Be safe and healthy,” are what her students hear when they leave her class. Maybe even both. They are not just things she says though. They are her mantra for the kids. They are her wish for the kids. They are her hope for the kids. They are her admonishments to the kids. And of course, they are what she lives.
Peggy is not just positive and motivational around the students, she is one of the most positive people I know. She is almost always smiling and she is a good listener. She is more interested in what is happening in your day than in telling you what has been happening with her. And she is empathetic whether what is happening is good or bad.
So naturally, Peggy is the advisor for our school’s Random Acts of Kindness Club. This club has meetings about how to make the school and community more positive. They do nice things for individuals and the school as a whole. They do not seek recognition, but they have received it. In fact, in 2012, they received an award. (See their video on YouTube.) It was pretty cool that the ones who sought no reward or recognition for their efforts got one. (Actually, more than one. Read an article too.)
Peggy is also the initiator of the Healthy Challenge at our school. She encourages students and staff to give up something or try something new to get healthy. People sign up by listing their health goals and after a certain period of time tell her the results. I am not sure how many people make permanent changes from the challenge, but at the very least, they know they can work toward being healthy. At least they are made aware.
Which brings me back to the mutual admiration society.
We often take people for granted. Especially, those who mean the most to us. Parents, siblings, other relatives. We just know they will always be there for us, so we take them for granted. Sure, if we live right next door or down the street or maybe even with them, we cannot really ignore them (or avoid spying on them), but there are things like the internet and phones that make it like we are right next door all the time. We can post on social media or call or text any time. And pretty much any place. Which is what Peggy encouraged me to do.
She said that when she texted her siblings, they were appreciative. Some of them needed a bit of gratitude right at that moment and she provided it. And it was a great time of reconnecting for all of them.
When I texted my siblings, we started a mutual admiration society. We told each other that we were great and that we appreciated each other. (Oh it was mushier than that, but if you start a mutual admiration society, you can see for yourself.) I realized how much I actually like them and their families. And I realized how much I miss seeing them on a regular basis. Oh I already knew, but sending and receiving those texts helped me to not only reconnect with my family, but with my own feelings for them. It helped me to get out of the rush rush rush mode of life.
I am grateful for many things this Thanksgiving weekend. Mostly, I am thankful for my family. Even more so after taking my friend Peggy’s advice. In fact, I think we all ought to do more random acts of kindness and we all ought to start more mutual admiration societies. After all, showing kindness and being grateful never go out of style, and those little acts might just change the world. At the very least, they will make the day for a few people.
© 2016 Michael T. Miyoshi
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