It’s OK to be humbled

Randy Riley - Contributing columnist

Sometimes it just happens.

Things don’t go as planned.

We are surprised by life. Sometimes the best way to handle unplanned events is to remain humble and to be open to new experiences.

Sitting here on a Sunday afternoon, with two beautiful little grandchildren keeping us company, we are experiencing true joy.

We got up in time to watch church on our computer through live-streaming on Facebook. I whipped up a hearty breakfast of pancakes and sausage. We ate as we gathered around Debbie’s little iPad screen that was propped up on the kitchen counter. Through the iPad, we were able to virtually join our friends in worship. Clayton and Claire seemed to enjoy it. They really liked the music.

It was a good day. Lot of giggles and laughs.

Just before lunch, Clayton decided that he wanted to play a game. They had brought a couple of board games from their home. One of their favorites is a game called The Avengers Edition of Monopoly.

All the game pieces are superheroes. I ended up being the Hulk. Debbie was Captain America. Claire was Captain Marvel and Clayton was Hawkeye.

I was very skeptical about playing a Monopoly-like game with a 6-year old and 4-year old. But we are typical grandparents. So, as usual, Pappy and Memaw do whatever the grandkids want.

Debbie and I didn’t really expect to finish the game. We both assumed their attention would wander. They would get bored. The game wouldn’t be exciting enough to keep them interested. We anticipated that they would start to lose the game and then they would just want to quit.

We were a little right, but mostly wrong.

After about an hour, 4-year old Claire was kicking butt. She had almost all the money and several good properties. That’s when I noticed her attention frequently drifting to Barbie’s Dream House.

Apparently Monopoly cannot compete with Barbie when it comes to enchanting a 4-year old. Claire announced she was finished. So, we split up her money and put her property back up for sale.

Then there were three.

Six-year old Clayton amazed me. His maternal great grandfather was an extremely successful real estate developer. He could do more wheeling and dealing before lunch than many other realtors would get done in a week.

Clayton must have inherited some of those wheeling and dealing genes. Every time it was his turn, he would carefully look over the board and assess what properties we were holding and how much cash on hand we had. Then, he would start trying to make deals. It was not only humorous to watch, it was impressive.

After a few more hours, we had Memaw on the ropes. She was fading fast. I got really lucky and she landed on my property two times in a row. Both properties had hotels.

Then there were two.

Clayton was wearing me down. I might have been up by a few dollars and a few properties, but that little wheeler-dealer had me a little nervous.

I think Debbie may have saved me by suggesting we all stop and watch a Disney movie. Clayton agreed and I jumped at the opportunity.

If there is a moral to take away from this little story, it would be to never underestimate anyone. Those two little ones surprised me this weekend. They also humbled me.

We should all have a spirit of humility.

In the past several weeks, people have been marching and demonstrating for change in America. Yes, we can all criticize the looting and burning. There is no place for theft or violence in this situation — but there is much more happening than that.

People of every ethnic background and of every age are saying, “Enough is Enough.” They are demanding to be heard. We all need to listen. These issues have gone on far too long.

We need to listen. We need an attitude of change. We need an attitude of humility.

Our minister reminded us this week, “In the midst of what some call darkness, I choose to see the light.” Focus on the light. Focus on the positive changes that we can make.

It’s easier to learn from others if we have a humble spirit.

Randy Riley is former Mayor of Wilmington and former Clinton County Commissioner.

Randy Riley

Contributing columnist