Let’s look at the people around us. Yes, absolutely, let’s look at our family and our dear friends. Where would we be without each of them, whether they’re still here with us or whether they’ve passed. The contribution each person has made in and to our lives is immeasurable.
Our family helps to form the person we each become. They give us the foundation for our views on life and the world. They teach us, good or bad, lessons that we carry throughout our lives. And our closest friends have, as well.
Think back to childhood. We assumed that the way we lived was how everyone lived. Then we went to our friend’s home and saw they did things a bit differently. And it was okay; just different. And from that we learned that there were many different ways to do things. One way may have worked best for us, but it’s okay for other people to do things their own way.
But let’s not just look back in time and not at only those closest to us. Let’s look all the way around us in our daily lives today. How did the clerk at the grocery store treat you today? Did they offer up a smile? More importantly, did you? Did you contribute to their day being a little better?
There is no hard and fast rule that states that others must be kind to us so that we may reciprocate in like form. A better idea is for us to be the instigator of kindness. Click to Tweet Make eye contact, offer a smile and as a stranger how they’re doing. Let’s go out of our way only a little bit and see how big of a reaction it can create.
John and I do most of our grocery shopping at an Aldi store near our home and we’re in there at least once a week. Because we’ve both gone out of our way to smile and to be friendly to the clerks at the check-out stand, what began as a simple smile has escalated into a casual friendship. We know each other’s names; we chit-chat a little each time we’re there. And you can tell by the expressions on faces, that they’re as happy to see us as we are them. In fact, upon entering the store, we always look to see who’s working that day. It certainly has made grocery shopping much more pleasurable.
We’ve done the same thing at the bank with the tellers and at other shops we go to. And for every person we interact with, our days and even our lives have become richer.
We all know what the world is like today. It can, at times, be very unpleasant. But each of us can take a moment to bring something, no matter how small, to our interactions with others to make the experience better. To make another person’s life better. To make our own lives better.
I’m a big movie fan and the tagline of one of my favorite films is: “In a cold world you need your friends to keep you warm.”
And how sweet it is.
So celebrate everyone this July. Because while we’re pretty amazing as individuals, it’s together that we’re great. And by standing together we make a great America.
By the way, please don’t forget that our dogs and cats don’t understand fireworks and are frequently terrified by the loud sounds and smell of sulfur and gunpowder. The Fourth of July is also when there are the most strays as many beloved pets run away in terror and get lost. So keep your pets indoors and be patient with them; comfort them and let them know that they are safe.
And remember, too, that many of our veterans, true American heroes, suffer PTSD and fireworks can disturb and upset them as well.
So maybe it would be best not to set-off fireworks in your neighborhood. Let’s leave them to the professionals.
Joe Thornton, Great Conjunction Co-Founder