Have you ever sat down to watch the news, or checked into your favorite online news source, and come away just feeling icky? How often do you sit down to the newspaper and smile because of all the happy stories? Not very often. Most days our news is riddled with the bad in the world. The crime and deceit that is becoming more frequent is what creates a sensational news story. It is very rare for a happy, feel-good story to become top priority in the news.
Why is that? Is it because it doesn’t happen? The whole world’s gone to seed and there is very little good left? I am quite certain that each of us, if we tried, could prove this to be incorrect. If we set out on our daily errands with the mindset of finding the good in the world, we would all come away with some pretty fantastic examples that chivalry is, in fact, not dead.
But we can’t argue the fact that we see far more of the bad than we do the good. It is hard to want to do anything kind for someone when we’re so worried about what bad things are coming our way. We tend to keep to ourselves more when we go in public, to trust those around us less, and to try and keep our private lives as safe as possible from potential intruders.
While this is, in some ways, necessary, I believe we take it too far. Yes, it is unfortunate that we have to lock our doors, when most of us can remember that being unnecessary when we were young. Yes, we do have to teach our children to avoid strangers and to protect themselves from those who would harm them. Unfortunately, most of us take this to the extreme and it leads to impolite, unfriendly habits.
None of us can change this. Not one of us can go out with the intention of bringing back the “good ol’ days” and making our community safe and whole again. No one person can do this and, chances are, we’ll never see “those days” again. We live in a different time with a different culture.
But there is something each of us can do to make this current world a better place to be in. No one can help everyone. But everyone can help someone. Rather than avoiding eye contact in the grocery store, look someone in the eye with a smile and say “hello.” Rather than shaking your head when you see the sweet little old lady struggling with her groceries, and wondering why her family doesn’t help her more…cross the parking lot and say “Good afternoon! May I help you with those groceries?” It will only take you a few moments. That kind little old lady will most likely say yes and thank you for your generosity. Is it possible that someone would refuse your kindness? Yes, of course it is! They’ve been taught to be suspicious of things like this, remember? How sad! So if they do say no, what do you do? You just keep smiling, so “Okay, I just wanted to offer. Have a great day!” and walk away, knowing that you have done something nice for someone, whether they know it or not!
So. Where are you going today? What errands are you running? Who might you see on your path to work? Stop for just a moment and think about the day ahead of you. Or, if you’re reading this in the evening, think about tomorrow. Everyone has an opportunity in their day to help another person. I want to challenge you to do it! It can be big or small, but choose at least one person to help. A smile, an offer for assistance, or even a well-timed compliment. Do something today, then comment below and let us know what you did, and how it made you feel! Take it a step further and teach your children to do the same. Teach them to offer a friendly hello to a stranger when Mom or Dad are nearby. Teach them to hold the door for someone coming behind or to offer assistance to the elderly. Make this a family challenge, and just wait and see how it changes your day!
I’m taking the challenge myself…stay tuned! 🙂
PS: If you like this concept, and would like to see it go to work more regularly and more powerfully in your life, I would highly encourage you to purchase and read the book The Go-Giver. It is a short, very quick read that will completely turn your day around and help you to become a better person. It is now on the required-reading list for my kids as well! 🙂