I miss Kermit the Frog. Kermit was all about leading with optimism and making the best of hard times.
He genuinely believed everyone had something to offer, something to contribute for the greater good. He saw the potential for good in those who could not even see it in themselves.
Through his hopeful assurances, Kermit helped unite impossibly diverse groups - chickens, pigs, bears, frogs and ridiculous monsters of all shapes and sizes - even people. Together, they overcame outlandish obstacles in order to accomplish fantastic success.
Given the seemingly unlimited opportunities of 2013, I often wonder, what would Kermit do? He was a simple frog, driven by a kindness and compassion unlike any I have ever seen. Kermit was a paragon of integrity, determined to do the right thing at any cost, helping everyone in his path along the way.
Not bound by material possession or desire for fame, wealth or power, Kermit lived for simple pleasures: meaningful conversation, the opportunity to help a friend, a catchy song in an unpolluted swamp.
I miss Kermit because of his effortless ability to shine a little light on dark times and those who have lost their way. I miss his heartfelt sincerity and commitment to seeing things through to the end. I miss his unpretentious approach to making new friends and his willingness to lead by example and follow the crowd with supportive enthusiasm.
It is easy to be overwhelmed today, but in these uncertain times of hope and renewal, I am comforted by Kermit's steadfast resolve.
Kermit's lessons were always the same: Chip in. Share your stuff. Give of your time and genuine concern for the well-being of friends and neighbors. Forget about the glamour and the glitz which ultimately only provides superficial and fleeting happiness. Take care of your swamp. Get over "being green" and love yourself for being the unique and special frog that you are.
These are not difficult principles to understand, but increasingly challenging to live by in a global economy of disconnected consumers addicted to colossal televisions, fast food, prescription pills and the acquisition of stuff wrapped in plastic.
I wonder how Kermit would react to today's entertainment for young people, budget cuts in education, and corrupt bureaucrats. I think he would be disappointed that we have inadvertently lost sight of what is really important in our short and fragile lives. I think he would say we should all think long and hard about what kind of people we want to be, and if that kind of person makes the world a better place.
I think he would encourage us to linger a little longer at the dinner table with our families, read an extra book before tucking our little ones in for the night, and encourage us to take epic adventures with those we love most.
At the start of this New Year, I'd like to think we now have a chance to redefine ourselves and come together within our communities, united as a re-inspired nation. Now is the perfect time to do some soul-searching and ask ourselves what is truly important.
Consider the forgotten reality that one in five children in the United States lives in poverty today. Consider the safety of our sons and daughters in the armed forces fighting overseas this very moment. Consider your priorities for our children and their future. Consider what kind of planet we'll be leaving for them.
Let us take some time to clear the cobwebs in our hearts, and collectively reunite with one another in a commitment to lead with love.
As you ponder how to make the most of the coming year, ask yourself, "What would Kermit do?" and see if it helps guide you and your family to a more simple lifestyle and a more meaningful life.
- "Life. Simplified." appears on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. Evan Zislis is founder and principal consultant of www.MyIntentionalSolutions.com, delivering hands-on organizational solutions for households, businesses, nonprofits, students, and life transitions. To suggest column topics, visit the Facebook page "Intentional Solutions." For more information about simplifying your stuff and organizing your life, call 366.2532 or email evan@MyIntentionalSolutions.com.