This is the first column of 2020 for Sven and the Bench Sitters.

Hard to believe there have been about 3,000 of these since we first started writing it in 1960.

As usual, the Bench Sitters got together to talk about New Year’s resolutions and hopes and dreams for the next 12 months.

But this year they decided to steal another idea called “Be First!”

We hope it might make you a better spouse, parent, lover, leader and human.

The rule . . . “Be First.”

Be first at all the good things. Be first to say I love you. Be first to say I was wrong. Be first to know that none of us is as smart as all of us. Be first to say thank you. Be first to say, “please.” Be first to hold the door. Be first to smile. Be first to laugh. Be first to care. Be first to recognize all the good you can do.  

Be first to care for people who may be spending their last day on earth: Everything matters, even the view out the window. Be first to tell everyone how much you appreciate them. Be first to realize that your words and touch are often infinitely more powerful than any drugs.

Be first to thank the dedicated teacher, law enforcement officer and others who provide so many other local services. Be first to thank those who keep our public buildings and our community clean and attractive. Be first to recognize this community is packed with volunteers who make our lives better.

Be first to wake your kids up with a bear hug. Be first to ask to read a book with them. Be first to eat lunch with them at school. Be first to turn off the TV and put that cellphone away and really look at them. Be first to tell them that they are the greatest things that ever happened in your life.

Be first to show empathy . . . knowing everyone is going through something. Be first to understand that none of us is getting out of here alive and that we are all being measured by how many times we are first. Be first to make everyone’s life better.

Be first to tell your work family how much difference they have made in your life. Be first to tell them they make you proud beyond belief.

Be first to be respectful of others’ views in politics, religion, sports or how to raise a family. Spend more time listening and understanding. Be first to keep hate out of your life.

So the Bench Sitters don’t have a lot more to say this week, other than we will keep trying to find those little things in our lives that bring smiles to faces. We’ll try to be first if we can.


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