Back from a long weekend away, I am inspired today (as is often the case) by a quote from the Jack’s Winning Words blog – Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” (Van Gogh)
I’ve posted here a few times about taking small steps (baby steps) in a new direction in your life (see the latest post at – https://normsmilfordblog.com/2020/09/09/step-off-in-a-new-direction/)
The quote that Jack used today made me wonder what the impact would be if enough of us started doing the small things that we lament are missing in society today – being more civil to each other, extending acts of kindness to each other, paying it forward. Could we achieve the more peaceful and caring society that most of us want, if we each individually took some small steps in that direction? Would our small acts of kindness or civility become additive and create even more of the same?
I have a sign on my front lawn that contains a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr – “I decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” I have had many people stop and ask me where I go the sign. It was created by the West Bloomfield, Michigan Optimists’ Club as part of a project to share King’s words. The people that stop all ask where they can get one, which shows me that here is lots of pent-up goodness in the world. Maybe sharing that sign in my little part in making things better for us all. Hopefully it at least starts them thinking more about love and less about hate.
You don’t need to put a sign on your lawn to do something to help the world be a better place to live and you don’t have to do something big, either. What you can do is to resolve to be a more caring and giving person today and to show that attitude through small acts of civility and kindness to others as the day goes on. The little ripples that you create with your actions will combine with ripples from others to become larger waves of change in our society. What you may notice first is the lack of the hatefulness that is on display so often today and that would be a great change.
Start by resolving, as King did, that hate is too hard a burden to carry around all day. Start out your morning with a prayer that God will put love in your heart and a determination to share that love with those that you encounter. Instead of a grunt and a frown, greet those you meet with a smile and an open hand. Say, “Hello. How’s your day going or how are you?” If they ask you how you are, answer, “Fantastic!” They will wonder the rest of the day what it is that made your day so fantastic. Maybe they will even thonk of some things that will make their day fantastic, too.
The point is that you will be doing your little part to make things better. If you go all day and only change one person’s outlook on life in a positive way, you will have already doubled the number of happy and more civil people in the world. Imagine that happening every day for a long time and soon you can imagine that enough people have changed to make the world a better place. We talk about “herd immunity” these days, but this is “herd happiness”. Your small acts of empathy and kindness can be a part of this bigger change in our society.
Do your little part today.