What were you fascinated with when you were a child?
In Chesterfield County, Virginia, a 14 yr. old autistic young man by the name of Dylan (who’d always been fascinated with vacuums,) got a chance to celebrate his birthday with a vacuum cleaner salesman! Here’s the letter that his Mom wrote to Kirby:
I am reaching out to you in hopes for an answer to an unusual request for my son who is autistic. He has always been obsessed with vacuum cleaners. His favorite is the Kirby. He spends hours every day watching videos on his tablet about different Kirby’s. When he isn’t watching videos about them, he is talking about them. I really would LOVE to get a demo done for him for his birthday. In fact, I am even getting him a cake made that looks like a Kirby vacuum. I am writing to you in hopes that you can get me in touch with a way to get him this demo. I want to be clear that I do not intend on purchasing a Kirby. I was hoping that I could pay a flat fee or thought that maybe if you have salesmen in training that needs to get in practice demos for training purposes. I do not want anything free, but as the mother of a special needs child, it is so hard to find things to make my son happy. I know that having this demo done would just be so awesome, and it would warm my heart to see him so excited to experience that.
He got his wish. “He knew more about Kirby than I did,” said the salesman!
In other parts of the U.S., a 2 year old boy named Deacon is about to move to a new address but he is sad because he’ll miss his best pal: the garbage man, whom they call “O-Dee.” To honor her son’s first buddy, Deacon’s Mom decided to throw a party. Together they made goodbye gifts for O-Dee. Once O-Dee arrived in the truck, little Deacon couldn’t wait to give him his present: a personalized mug, cookies, candy and also a hug.
In Colorado Springs, 4 year old Carson’s dream came true, thanks to a lot of caring adults. Because of a lactose sensitivity, the UPS guy was a familiar presence; delivering special formula to Carson’s home on a regular basis. He formed a strong bond with Ernie the driver. Carson has a miniature version of the company uniform, complete with matching cap, and turned the family’s basement into a shipping department for when he “plays UPS.” Ernie the driver had a surprise in store for Carson when his route changed and he made a special trip to deliver it to the boy: a child-sized UPS truck of his very own as part of the company’s Your Wishes Delivered campaign. “Just to see him growing up so far in his young life,” said Ernie, “and how I’ve made an impact on him. He adds a bright light into my life. It makes me feel my job is more worthwhile.” Neighbors have come to expect to see Carson riding his mini brown truck down the street at least once a week, delivering cookies and muffins from house to house and often singing as he drives. For the holidays, he plans on bringing candy canes and chocolate kisses as he dons his newly ordered UPS winter jacket.
(photo from http://theawesomedaily.com/ups-for-a-day/)
You’ve seen the Batkid story, right? My grandson loves that one. In fact it’s going to be a film soon. It all started when Make A Wish granted Miles, a 5 yr. old leukemia patient, his dream come true. A 20,000-plus crowd helped turn the Bay area into Gotham. This has gone viral and I challenge you to keep a dry eye watching the videos. (photo Rob Bricken http://io9.com/julia-roberts-is-going-to-turn-batkid-into-a-movie-1681775885)
Sheep were VERY wrinkly 100 years ago… so much so that sheep breeders ‘bred out’ the wrinkles and now sheep aren’t wrinkly. Why did they breed out the wrinkles? Stay with me here; I’m on topic. Honest. Sheep were harder to shear 100 years ago because their wrinkles had to be spread out by hand to accommodate the clippers in a proficient manner. Apparently sheep breeders in Michigan are now trying to return their small flock of Merino sheep back more than a century to the way they were when the breed ruled American sheep farms with their tightly wrinkled wool.
When people “breed out” what they perceive to be flaws, and “breed in” what they perceive to be good traits, they are causing problems. Just look at dog breeding. Breeding out one trait and exaggerating another one, often leads to eventual onset of breathing problems, hip dysplasia and other problems that weren’t there before…
It’s kind of like that with all the things we were fascinated with as kids. It is like the wonder and fascination gets bred right out of us. But like Merino sheep, we can put it back in, right?
Believe it or not, according to https://experiencelife.com/article/upgrade-your-brain/,
“our genes are open to being influenced throughout our lifetime, both by what we do and by what we think, feel and believe. Much like the impacts of diet, exercise and environmental toxins, various thought patterns have been shown to turn certain genes “on” or “off.” “
What does that mean?
It means that a person has more influence over their well being than they think. The brain can be rewired to find wonder with the world, to imagine, to play, to think, like we did as children, much the same way the sheep is morphing back to its original state.
“Stimulating areas of the brain that handle positive emotions strengthens those neural networks, just as working muscles strengthens them,” says Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, PhD, cofounder of the San Francisco–based Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom…
Gold fascinated me as a kid. I looked at gold necklaces and thought of sparkling chunky gold nuggets, mined from the earth. I watched the tiny well dressed jewelry box dancers in my mother’s jewelry box, spin and waltz, bow and twist when I lifted the lid….and I thought of ballerinas. I saw paper bags so I thought: WINGS! And I stood on the picnic table, jumped, and tried to fly. I ran around the gravel yard, arms flapping, covered in those bags, willing a wind to sweep me up and away.
Recently, I read a bitter blog about a very depressed person, traumatized in early life; who absolutely hated Buddhists and all their positive thinking. I can understand where she’s coming from. NO depressed person wants to hear: “Snap out of it!” But that’s not what Buddhism is, or ever was. It doesn’t eradicate trauma, tragedy or sorrow. It is not a Polly Anna Cheer Up Rant. It’s not a way to eliminate suffering, just a belief system in helping the brain to DEAL with the suffering a little better.
Science shows we CAN rewire ourselves. I say, don’t lose the child you were. If we are lucky, we wear many faces in life: The toddler, The teen, The young adult, The middle ager, The senior… So many faces. It’s the same brain you started with physically, but physiologically not really. Along the way, should we not USE the brain productively, the way we reshape muscles? Stimulate positive emotions as often as possible… and who knows?
Whether it’s garbage men, UPS drivers, super heroes or vacuum salesmen, why not awaken a challenging pursuit. Allow the neurotransmitters to fire off in new directions so often that the new paths become familiar routes. From the aforementioned site: https://experiencelife.com/article/upgrade-your-brain :
“Brain-imaging tests have shown that veteran Buddhist meditators demonstrate initial heightened activity in the left prefrontal regions of the brain, along with a rapid ability to recover from negative responses brought on by frightening images shown to them by researchers. This suggests that their long-term meditation practice has helped build brains that are able to not just enjoy but sustain a sense of positive well-being, even in stressful moments.”
That’s all we can hope for. LIKE this?
*This young man was fascinated with vacuums. A vacuum cleaner salesman was invited to his birthday party:
*Mom throws party so toddler can say goodbye to beloved “garbage man” :
*UPS driver makes little boy’s wish come true:
*A young boy granted wish to be Batkid:
*sheep breeders restoring sheep old style with wrinkles: