A few weeks ago, I pulled out of my garage to a sight that made my heart sink. Vandals had cut down two swings that were attached to an old walnut tree by my neighbors’ house. I frequently enjoyed watching the neighbors’ twins swing from my dining room window. I was frustrated, but I was unable to address the situation that moment as I had to rush off to a meeting.
Later that day, I went over to investigate, and I saw a note posted on the tree. It was from the six-year-old big sister of the twins.
Obviously she was upset. I thought, What is the best way to change the story? A few days later, I decided to fix the swings and leave her a note in response that read something like, “I am so sorry this happened. I fixed the swings. From, A Concerned Neighbor.” It only cost me twelve dollars and a couple hours. Of course, there are other choices in situations like this:
Repeat the story about how someone cut the swings down
Change the story.
I decided to change the story. Perhaps now the older sister can tell a story about how a neighbor fixed the swings. Sure, negative things happen in the world, but if we choose to engage, we can change the story.
If you are reading this, I challenge you to change something in your community or at work so that you can change the story. You will feel better and so will others. Limit yourself to spending less than $12 and two hours. Let me know what story you changed.