Small Deeds Yield Big Results

You never know when one random act of kindness or one sincere word of encouragement may change someone’s outlook or life.  A simple smile; a small deed; a thank you – these simple things make just make a world of difference when we are having a bad day or struggling with something.  Now imagine how much more important those small things seem if you’ve lost your job, or had an unexpected lifestyle change.  All of the sudden any help you can receive becomes necessary and needed.  I’m a firm believer in Leonard Nimoy’s statement, “The miracle is this – the more we share, the more we have.”

This Holiday season, follow the guidance of The Talmud: “The whole worth of a kind deed lies in the love that inspires it.”  Always remember that you get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself.

Don't Just Give Gifts – Give Your Time & Effort

 

Unfortunately, the holiday season has become too commercialized and focused on all the wrong things.  We have become desensitized to its true meaning.  The retail marketplace started putting up Holiday decorations after Halloween in an effort to salvage what has been a dismal year for them.  Soon, we’ll be concerned with making sure we have everyone checked off our gift list, sending back party RSVPs, and mailing holiday greetings to friends and family.  I must caution you to take pause before this frenzy happens and consider the following:  you have the opportunity to give an incredible gift that will leave a lasting impression long after the presents have been opened, the parties visited and greetings exchanged – you have the opportunity to give your time and effort.  No one is more appreciated in the world than someone who donates their time with the goal of lightening the burden of another or advancing a common cause.

There are too many worthwhile volunteer organizations to list here, but all would surely welcome your time and talents.  Elizabeth Andrew said, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.”  This is the mantra of all people I know who volunteer on a regular basis.  Whether it’s a charitable organization, trade or professional association, or place of worship, all would sincerely appreciate any time you have to spare.  Though balancing our personal and professional schedules is an ever growing challenge, supporting a volunteer effort will leave you fulfilled beyond belief and with the strong desire to give even more of yourself.  No one volunteers hoping to receive accolades or credit.  We find an initiative we sincerely believe in and hope that we are able to make a small difference in its progression.

While it is true that all charities need financial support, most need volunteer support just as much, if not more.  Meals aren’t delivered to the needy on their own; shelters cannot clothe the unfortunate without assistance; industry initiatives are not advanced without intellectual support and fresh ideas; society does not improve as a whole without true, honest, good-hearted help.  Sherry Anderson said, “Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.”  There aren’t many better descriptions than this.  We don’t get paid but we certainly never, ever feel worthless or unappreciated.  Though most would disagree being called priceless, those who rely on the efforts of volunteers would state we are exactly that: priceless. 

Tom Brokaw said it best:  “It’s easy to make a buck.  It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.”  Everyone wants to feel as though they have contributed toward achieving a goal.  Everyone wants to feel a sense of accomplishment, that they have made a difference.  Unfortunately, not everyone realizes you are able to experience those tremendous feelings through simply giving of yourself.  Find a cause that speaks to you and get behind it as best you can.  Even a few hours a month will make a difference.  Be bold and lead by example.  Remind colleagues, friends, and family that the holiday season is about appreciating what you do have.  Show them that this appreciation is truly achieved by helping others for no reason other than just to help.

This holiday season, I urge you to give your time and energy as a gift.  Show you’re willing to exemplify the true meaning of the spirit of holiday season.  Make a difference.  There is nothing stronger than the heart and willingness of a volunteer. 

As an encouragement to others, please let us know to which charities you’ve donated your time and energy and, more importantly, how you felt after giving of yourself.

Most Wonderful Time of the Year? Only If WE Help Make It That Way

 

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, the hectic Holidays have officially arrived.  Over the next four to six weeks, our schedules will be filled even more with parties, events, and school functions for our children.  As we all know, it is extremely unfortunate the Holidays have become more about materialism and less about its true meaning – celebrating family, faith and friends.  Everyone recounts past Holidays, when times were simpler and only one gift exchanged – maybe a few in an exceptional year.  This past year has been anything but exceptional for most, and for some, it will most definitely not be the most wonderful time of the year.  Fortunately, we all have the ability to help change that, if only slightly, through charitable efforts.

Emanuel Swedenborg said “True charity is the desire to be useful to others without thought of recompense.”  Each of us must to take these words to heart.  We have the ability and opportunity to perform a random act of kindness and, now more than ever, it’s certainly needed.  While attending Church today, the annual giving tree was out.  Instead of selecting two items, I selected six.  Even though my company is struggling and industry outlook bleak, there are many others who certainly deserve to experience some happiness.  I decided that instead of giving gifts to family members, I would purchase the items that those who will appreciate it most have requested.  This year, my “gifts” to family will be a handwritten card describing how a charitable act was performed on their behalf.  A friend once commented “If you have much, give of your wealth; If you have little, give of your heart.”

Each of us was taught that “Charity begins at home, but should not end there” and most have heard Aesop’s famous “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”  Utilize this Holiday season to reinforce in our children and family the importance of appreciating all we have been blessed with.  There is no better teacher than experience.  When we purchase our items for others, or make our monetary donations, include our famies in the process.  Allow them to experience the feeling of helping those in need.  Show them that Walt Whitman was correct when he said, “Charity and personal force are the only investments worth anything” and Mark Twain when he said, “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” 

Choose to make a difference, lead by example and bring back the true meaning of the Holiday season – family, faith, and friends.  This year, give a gift the recipient will never forget – make a donation on their behalf.  Help make it the most wonderful time of the year for those who will appreciate it more than words can describe.  Arthur Ashe summarized it best when he said, “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.”