There was a song sung by Johnny Mercer in 1945 entitled “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive.” The lyrics included a line that said, “accentuate the positive … and eliminate the negative.” Another line said, “you gotta have faith.”
We could use a little more positive energy and a little less negative energy in our culture today. We waste too much time tearing each other down rather than building each other up.
We have divided ourselves into groups based on politics, race, religion and philosophy. We spend more time in the negative endeavors of building fences to separate us than we do in the positive pursuit of building bridges to connect us.
Our national elected representatives – in all branches of government – and the majority of the national media outlets go out of their way with their rhetoric and comments to accentuate the negative. Sadly, “We the People” have not done much to demand an end to all the negativity in Washington and in the media.
We have forgotten the admonishments found in the scriptures that say, “judge not, lest ye be judged,” and “why do you talk about the splinter in your brother’s eye and cannot see the log in your own eye?”
I have just about given up on our politicians and on the media. In this season of my life, I am just trying to set a positive example for my grandchildren. I often remind them that their “attitude will determine their Altitude.”
When the grandkids were little, I used to read them the book, “The Little Engine That Could.” It is a story about a little train pulling a big load up a long hill. All the way up the hill, the little engine was huffing and puffing and saying over and over to himself, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”
I am trying my best to teach my grandchildren that through faith, hard work and a positive attitude, all things are possible. I also tell them not to waste time worrying about things. It is a waste of time. I tell them, “do your best, don’t sweat the rest … and life won’t be such a mess.”
I tell my grandchildren that each new day brings brand new opportunities: “You have a choice each new day as to whether you will accentuate the positive or embrace the negative. Put a smile on your face, love in your heart, and make every day a great day.”
The scriptures say, “as a man thinketh, so he is.” I picked up the habit some time ago of answering the greeting, “how are you doing?” by replying “finer than frog hair split three ways.”
Some of my friends who followed me in my travels through the cities and villages of Ukraine told me they could always tell where I had been working with children. I ask them how they knew, and they replied, “because when we ask children how they were doing they would answer, ‘finer than frog hair split three ways.’”
A positive attitude can be contagious. So can a negative attitude. I used to have a one-word sign over my office door. That one word was “Choices.” I guess it is up to each one of us as to whether we choose be carriers of positivity or negativity.
None of us can do everything necessary to change the negativity that seems to have beset our culture and society. Perhaps if we all did a little more to accentuate the positive in 2021, all the little things would add up to be a lot.
Indeed, “a positive attitude gives power over circumstances instead of your circumstances having power over you.”
Rodney H. Sessions is a resident of Petal.