Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brag on Someone Wednesday

Yesterday morning I sat in the Grandma's Bagels in Little Silver talking with Barbara. Barbara normally likes to talk either about how she needs to get dental implants and how expensive they are or how her car needs to be repaired and how expensive it will be. For Barbara, these topics are always in Vogue and she never tires of them. However, yesterday I started asking Barbara about herself, her life, and her family.

As we talked Barbara first told me about her daughters. One is a vice president of something at a start-up company near Boston and the other a medical doctor in Arlington, MA. I asked Barbara, "vice president of what?", but she wasn't sure. So, I whipped out my MacBook and we began googling. After fifteen minutes we'd found all sorts of information, publications and pictures about not only Barbara's daughters, but also her husband, Henry.

Surviving to Thriving
Barbara is in her mid-to-late seventies and Henry in his mid-to-late eighties. Prior to our googling, I'd known that Henry was a retired engineer who "doesn't do much." However, as we talked, Barbara told me how Henry had grown up a Jew in Poland. When the Germans invaded, he and his brother managed to evade them and reach the house of a family friend who had told his mother that she would hide her family if the Germans were to come. When the time came to flee, Henry's sister hadn't wanted to go, so only Henry and his brother made it to the friend's house. She hid them in a root cellar in the woods behind the house bringing them food and water and telling them when it was safe to come above ground at night to get some air and walk about a bit. They stayed there for the duration of the war.

After the war, Henry went to Munich to study engineering and then came to the US where he obtained a PhD. Henry's is a remarkable story and so much more interesting than tooth implants and auto repairs.

We continued talking and googling. I found references to a couple of technical papers that Henry had published along with a list of his university, Technische Hochschule. As people filtered in and out of the bagel shop, Barbara would call out, "Hey look, my daughters are on the Internet! They're famous."

Today, when Iris and I walked into the bagel shop, even before we could order or sit down, Barbara began telling us how she'd gone home and made Henry google their daughters. They'd found even more references and photos. She was really excited.

As Iris and I drove to the office, it occurred to me that we often take for granted the great things about the people in our lives while never losing sight of the less than great things. So I told her, "I'm going to declare today, Brag on Someone Wednesday!"

If you'd like to join me in celebrating, it's quite easy. Think of someone in your life who's really great, but someone whom you have perhaps begun to take a bit for granted. Then find a second person and start telling them just how great the first person is. If you want to make the celebration even better, turn on your phone's voice or video record and capture the whole bragging session. Then you can post it on YouTube and share it with the world. If you do, please write a comment here so we can all share.

Happy bragging!

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