“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” –Henry James
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” –Plato
It doesn’t take much to show a little bit of kindness, and if there ever was a time that your city, your community, your family and your friends need that smidgen of love, friend, it is now. We all need a little bit of kindness. It doesn’t take much, but it does take some work in advance to make sure you’re doing this right.
I’ve got to tell you, as the holidays are fast approaching I can already feel the tension of what is supposed to be the best time of the year, the happiest time of the year—the season of love and joy—and that tension is building because of the unknown. So what would it take to make the unknown known, so you can relax and enjoy yourself? For many listening, it is a simple process, as far as I can tell. You need to know where you’re going, how you’re going to get there and how you’re going to pay for it without causing undue hardship on you or your family.
Let’s think about this. So we haven’t even gotten to Thanksgiving, and already the Christmas music is on the radio. Poor Thanksgiving! It’s one of my favorite holidays, but it gets no love because it doesn’t make any money for the market. What’s with all that good will and thanksgiving for all our blessings? Goodness, we’ve got to hurry to Black Friday and let the official start of the Christmas season take place!
I don’t want to focus on the money that this time of year seems to gobble up, but I will remind you of the Dave Ramsey quote, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” Friend, don’t do it this year—save yourself. Now you can do an act of kindness that money could never buy and do well by doing good.
Before we get to Christmas, I’d like you to stop and think about slowing down and not letting the season push you. I’d like to see you take control of the season and do what is best for you and your loved ones.
I’d like to press upon you to stop and enjoy the holiday known as Thanksgiving… and be thankful for little things… like the blessings of abundant food, clean water, warm homes, relatives who are still with us and memories of those who have passed on.
When I think about our world’s need for a little bit of kindness, I am reminded about why we celebrate Thanksgiving, as you all well know.
Thanksgiving became an official Federal holiday in 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. (Wikipedia)
With the arrival of the Pilgrims at New Plymouth, they composed The Mayflower Compact, which honored God, noting that Thanksgiving begins with acknowledging that God is faithful, and earnestly giving Him thanks in advance, for His abundant blessings.
You probably know the verse or have heard, “In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). (allabouthistory.org)
When you think about it, the true meaning of Thanksgiving, I think, should focus on relationships, whether it is your relationship with your heavenly Father and putting your spiritual life in order, or with your earthly family (and for many listening, it would be a great thing to stop and take inventory of), I like to think about this as a timeline. So think about the place in the timeline of life where your kids are; you can take that one step further and notice on that timeline where your parents are, and I would strongly encourage you to place yourself and your spouse or life partner on that timeline and really see where you are, and think about where you’re headed.
I want you to imagine the timeline to remind yourself just how short life is—how briefly we are here to make a difference; to leave a legacy.
You may be wondering why I’m talking about Thanksgiving a few weeks in advance of the holiday. Well, this week I had my friend Leslie Hayes on the show to talk about living your best life ever by understanding what she calls the Five Essentials for Success; one of those concepts is the issue of happiness and unhappiness and what to do about it. I see so much dissatisfaction with life and work and family and friends, so I asked Leslie to come and talk about how someone can find their way through the darkness to the light to live the life they imagined.
(And next Saturday is my Thanksgiving poetry show with my friend Jayne Ferrer.)
So for the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving I want to stop and focus on my theme of A Little Bit of Kindness.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase that “A little bit of kindness goes a long way,” and it does. In fact, it was scientifically proven that being kind can make you happier!
Dr. Wayne Dyer has reported that whenever someone engages in acts of kindness, no matter if big or small, the serotonin levels increase in both the giver and receiver of an act of kindness, and they noted that anyone who witnesses an act of kindness also has an increase in serotonin levels. The giver, receiver and those who witness the act of kindness, experience a boost in happiness.
I love the quote from Robert Furey. “Those who make compassion an essential part of their lives find the joy of life. Kindness deepens the spirit and produces rewards that cannot be completely explained in words. It is an experience more powerful than words. To become acquainted with kindness one must be prepared to learn new things and feel new feelings. Kindness is more than a philosophy of the mind. It is a philosophy of the spirit.”
I like that thought that kindness is a philosophy of the spirit. You know, my favorite quote is from Mark Twain. “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
Kindness seems so simple, but it seems that we have lost the spirit of kindness in our busy world of just getting by.
Growing up I often heard the phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” and although that’s a trendy catch phrase in our hectic, fast-paced world, it can be good advice. But there’s more to that quote. What’s not being said is as important as what is being said. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but don’t forget the small stuff either. More often than we realize, a small act can make the difference, provide a bit of hope and may just change a life.
Singer-songwriter, Glenn Campbell, had a hit song called Try a Little Kindness. I always liked the words.
If you see your brother standing by the road…With a heavy load from the seeds he’s sowed…And if you see your sister falling by the way…Just stop and stay you’re going the wrong way… Don’t walk around the down and out…Lend a helping hand instead of doubt…And the kindness that you show every day…Will help someone along their way
The Chorus went like this…
You got to try a little kindness
Yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness
Then you’ll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets
So as we come into this season of Thanksgiving, what small act of kindness can you do to make a difference? I hope you’ll spend some time this weekend—before the crush of wrapping paper, Christmas trees and crazy family members coming to eat you out of house and home—to think about your blessings, your gifts and your kind acts of goodness that define who you are, not only this holiday season but also every day of the year.