Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fourth of July Picnic

Every Fourth of July was the same when I was growing up. We had a big family reunion picnic each year at a campground on Fish Lake in Southern MN. It was formerly known as Camp-A-Huca, back in the good ole days. Some of my fondest memories are from that day.

Picnic tables lined up one after another filled with various salads made to perfection, each family's famous bars and cakes as well as lemonade in glass jars. The smell of hot dogs (or you can call them “hod-dogs” like we do) on a black cast iron grill stuck into the ground. The looks of the grill-master, my Aunt Lillian, as she ignored the continuous screams of “are they done yet?” The anticipation of all the kids as we waited and waited for the perfect swimming time, following the “one hour rule” after you eat, of course. Everyone wondering, who got a new nose plug this year from Ben Franklin’s store? I can still remember, like it was yesterday, my aunts sitting on a concrete divider near the water, claiming to watch us swim. Those memories are sealed in my heart, retrieving them to play over and over again in my mind every Fourth of July. They are still some of the best stories told when my family gets together.

It is yet another example of the importance of family and relationships and the many ways they teach you about life. At the time I thought we were simply having a picnic and going swimming along with the traditional July 4th sun burn that was so bad you thought you might need the industrial size of Noxema (maybe that was just me). When in reality it was more than just a family picnic. It was an opportunity to bond with each other, to share your family's ups and downs, to lend support, to offer advice, to laugh, and just have FUN. Powerful lessons have definitely come from those simple yet great pleasures.

All of these things are components of Be the Change. We will not make changes alone. Real changes will be made from developing relationships in which we share our experiences, offer support and give advice. I am profoundly grateful to all of my family that has taught me the value of a loving, respectful relationship by actually demonstrating it themselves. Be the Change is rooted in those same core values. Be the Change believes that anything is possible when we join forces, respecting the human experience and allowing that to be the foundation we stand on. Including recognizing the truth and wisdom from our past and pulling it into our present.

There are many new and exciting things happening with Be the Change which, especially on Independence Day, makes me aware of how extremely blessed I am. I have the freedom to speak and write about the changes I think are necessary to improve health care. It is a freedom which comes from many who have sacrificed and suffered to provide it. The experiences of people who inspire Be the Change have many similarities to those who fight for freedom. Courage is the first one that comes to mind. Each are demonstrated differently, but the powerful impact of quality relationships and respectful partnerships is the center. It's what we freely experience every Fourth of July and in both great things are possible. Learning, each in our own way, to Be the Change.

So, I got my nose plug on, I promise to wait an hour before I go swimming and I sincerely hope that you have the chance to be with your family this Fourth of July. Try a family picnic, making some memories like mine from Camp-A-Huca. You might want to buy some Noxema though, just in case.

1 comment:

  1. You are an AMAZING writer! Talent and the spirit of a Saint...Are we really related? After reading your posts, I want to be a better person and I try. Dont ever stop!