I generally save the various quotes that retired pastor Jack Freed uses in his blog Jack’s Winning Words. Sometimes I pick one out later to write about and sometimes more than one may catch my eye as fitting together to support a thought. Such is the case today with two quotes from past post’s on Jack’s blog.
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” (Gandhi) – and –
“One message at just the right moment can change your entire day.” (Megan Murphy)
We can never know what the impact will be of a kind word at the right moment or maybe a word of sympathy. Perhaps you will be on the receiving end and it will make your day brighter and change your attitude towards things. Perhaps you will have the opportunity to extend a kind word to someone else and change their day because of it. In either case, that gentle and kind word will shake the world of the person receiving it.
We currently have a President who regularly shakes the world with his messages, mostly delivered in tweets on Twitter. I’m sure that his words, though seldom gentle, change the entire days of many other world leaders. Unfortunately, he seldom picks the right moments to deliver those words and the shakeups that they cause are not always for the better.
None of us ordinary people have that level of platform from which to speak; however, I would submit that our kind and gentle words can have a dramatic effect on a wide number of people. If you’ve seen the breakfast food commercial where one cheerful person (supposedly happy because of his great breakfast) passes on his little sunshine halo to a few people who then pass it on to others; then, you’ve seen the impact of a smile and a kind word. It’s like the ripples that spread out across a pond when one throws a pebble into it. The people that you impact have impacts on others, and so on and so on.
The Mackinac Policy Conference at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island is being held this week. It is sponsored by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and brings together the important political and government leaders in Michigan for discussions on topics of common interest. One of the three key topics that is on the agenda is a discussion of how to restore civility to the political process in Michigan. The same discussion could be had at the national level. Perhaps the answer is to start with a kind and gentle word between the parties and see if that beginning encourages discourse and compromise rather than the bitter partisan fighting that goes on now. Perhaps the message should be “Let’s talk” instead of “Let’s fight”.
For all of the rest of us, maybe a gentle message to our representatives in government that we’d rather they find a way to common ground and solutions on the issues, rather than standing their own partisan ground, might help. At least it would let them know that we are not happy with the extreme positions that prevent compromise and too often lead to gridlock in government. Shake your world today with a well-timed gentle message of encouragement and hope. Share your sunshine halo and see what a difference it may make.