Give Or Take…


A few days ago, while parked at a red light, I glanced over and noticed an old car next to me at the intersection.

It was spotless… no, it was flawless… the maroon and cream colored paint as thick as the chrome that decorated the bumpers on both ends and the window frames and mirrors in the middle.

Must have cost a small fortune in dollars and an even greater investment in time and energy and passion. One look at the driver and you could sense the emotion… the pride… the desire to be noticed and acknowledged.

At once, I rolled down my window, threw my thumb into the air and exclaimed, “Beautiful… that is AWESOME!!”

You should have seen his face… he was beaming.

Minutes down the road, we’re now approaching a line of cars that is moving far too slowly for this particular stretch of highway. As I move to the fast lane, I suddenly realize that there are several more vintage automobiles in the group… each as incredible in their detail as was the first.

Without thinking, I slow as I pass each one… nodding approval to each driver as we make eye contact. Those with women in their vehicles seemed especially proud, as if the added attention somehow justified that the results of years of intense labor and commitment had all been worth it.

At that moment, a friend riding with me asks, “What year was that car?” (I have no idea). Another asks about the make and model (of which I also have no clue), and then the first states, “Gosh, Steve, I never knew you were so interested in old cars…”

“I’m not…” I say. “Don’t know the first thing about them…”



Over the years, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve suggested to others that the next words out of their mouth could lift up or knock down, encourage or harm, create or destroy.

I also can’t tell you how many times I’ve lived to regret the choices I’ve made so often in this regard.

The truth is that the life-givers are far outnumbered by the energy-takers… and a kind word or an unconditional act of support or encouragement or approval may be the only one an individual receives that day… that week… or in what seems like forever.

You see, the cars mattered only because the people mattered.

And each day… at each intersection… and in each interaction… the choice is ours to add or subtract from another’s sense of happiness, value and pride.

I look forward to speaking with you soon!



Do you know people who others just love to be around?
What about those who drain emotional energy and put everyone on their guard?
What are the main differentiators of those in each group?
When was the last time you had the chance to really acknowledge someone?
Did you do it? If so, how did they respond?


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2 thoughts on “Give Or Take…

  1. Funny you should ask:

    Have often asked myself why I am always gravitating towards certain people, yet avoiding a few others, especially at work. It’s not what they do, as much as how I feel in their presence, and afterwards. Have emulated the few whose presence I actually crave. They are always positive… genuinely/seemingly naturally… and supportive. They make my day! When I behave in kind with others, they seem to seek me out, with time. I make a point to acknowledge others on a daily basis. The few times I haven’t…..those stressful days when I feel bombarded with problems… I soon notice that nobody else is smiling, either.

    You are so right about the others… the ones I’ve avoided. Have not spent time analyzing that side. But, now that I think about it….they DO drain me. Suck me dry, actually. No wonder I feel tired afterwards! You’ve motivated me to refocus and do more giving. We all certainly can use more of that. eh?

  2. Great insight, Deb!

    And I bet the people you work with are thrilled to have you there everyday as well! Thank you for being an uplifter and encourager… and thank you also for your kind words earlier today on Twitter! I appreciate your friendship – Steve

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