In today's world life is getting faster. Our kids are more sophisticated than we were. They are expected to keep up with technology as well as the basics. We schedule their free time because we're afraid to let them outside to play. We funnel them into specialties before they are out of elementary school and before we know it they are wearing a cap and gown and walking down the aisle in a graduation ceremony. We budget our time and have become masters of multi-tasking, but somewhere along the way we've forgotten crucial basics of living.

We see it every day in the little things we do. It happens on the road when we cut someone off in a hurry to get to our next appointment. It happens in the cafeteria line when someone pushes their way in instead of waiting their turn and we don't like anything slower than high speed. In general, life just isn't as simple as it once was or as courteous as our grandparents used to say it was. Too often we forget to slip a smile to the person that is helping us or to be patient when we are in a hurry. Courtesies that were once common place are now the exception to the rule. Have you experienced any of this? The consequences of our actions are a higher crime rate, misunderstandings and a general intolerance that goes hand in hand with the faster way of life.

Recently columnist Margie Boule highlighted a woman who decided to be nice and ended up changing her life. By taking one step at a time, Kate Mytron of Portland discovered by taking her time and being patient, she could change the course of her actions and ended up spreading goodwill along the way. She stopped to hold the door open, she smiled and said OK even if something was going to be a little more inconvenient for herself and she went out of her way to be easy going. After a year of doing this she is convinced her life has been changed for the better. She'd like to see others benefit from her experience.

Kate learned that by exhibiting the values of love, respect, honesty, responsibility and service she could create a peaceful world surrounding her. I like to think these values make a kinder and gentler world anywhere. Staff at the YMCA is asked to live these values. We pride ourselves in greeting you with a friendly smile and to give the best possible service. We hope to give you the experience of feeling safe, respected and served when you are in the Y. In other words, we want to live our new slogan, "You are what you do." Will you join us?

It starts here, in Sherwood. This is where a world filled with peace begins; right here in our community and then it spreads. The next time someone asks you to wait a moment, be patient and smile. The next time someone gets to the door when you do, open it for them and wait until they've gone through. If someone needs a smile, give them one of yours and the next time you're asked for something you don't want to give, think twice and say why not. Let's start it and watch it spread.

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