December 26, 2012 Getting to the Point Where It’s In Our DNA

Three days ago, the Financial Times announced that the number one “toy” for kids this Christmas will be a tablet.

In November, 60 Minutes ran a story about 30 year-old Shin Dong-hyuk, believed to be the only person born in a North Korean prison camp that has escaped to tell about it. When he was asked, “Did anybody ever explain to you why you were in a camp?” Shin replied, “No, because I was born there, I just thought that those people who carry guns were born to carry guns and prisoners like me were born as prisoners.”

What do I bring up these two stories? What seemingly imperceptible thread have I found connecting them? It’s the idea that we can get “in the habit” of doing things, thinking things, believing things, if we just do it.

If we were all brought up that every day, you had to stop at some point of the day, and just really see what’s all around us, and be grateful, well that would be part of our life, as natural as well, the proverbial brushing of one’s teeth or eating sugarcane if you’re in Uganda! It wouldn’t feel foolish or be this impossible task. We would just do it, because it would become part of our DNA. We wouldn’t think about it as a difficult thing to do, it would just be something we would do as we do all the other things in our day, eat meals, watch television, feed our pets, go to work, set up play dates, rehearse a proposal, talk on the phone, solve problems.

Today,  comedians to politicians to educators, bewail the idea that younger adults don’t really talk to each other, there’s no conversation—it’s all texting. Well maybe texting has won a round, but what about us trying to win the next fight but making 2:30 pm an inviolate time where we consider all that we have?  It could be gratitude for that new Ipad or simply the fact that you were never in a North Korean prison camp.

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