I can’t believe the summer is drawing to a close. School starts for some of your children as early as next week! I will have a blog about back to school then but this week, I wanted to share some personal thoughts. I believe that if each person did one extra little thing for someone else or for the environment, we could really change a lot.
Little things really do make a difference. Just smiling at someone as you walk past them or a clerk at a store could change the way they feel about themselves or how their day is going. It’s so easy to fall into the rut of only thinking about ourselves and our schedules and our feelings that it can take some effort to start thinking about others.
But doing so is very important. Each one of us touches the lives of so many people which makes every action we do important.
Action Plan: While you and your children are enjoying the summer without ridged schedules, this may be the perfect time to teach them this important idea. Hopefully, some of these little ideas might help you and your family make a big difference in someone else’s life:
1. Keep an eye on any elderly neighbors and see if they need any help. You or your teenager could help them with yard work, errands, etc.
2. Write a note or make a phone call to let someone know you are thinking about them.
3. Reach out to someone if they look lonely. Especially in a group setting.
4. As you organize your home and closets, give what you don’t need to a family or organization in need.
5. Offer to babysit for a friend. Or better yet, for a single mother who could really use some help.
6. Bring in a snack for a co-worker.
7. Pack a lunch for a child you know may not have one.
8. Offer directions to someone who looks lost.
9. Let someone get in front of you in line if they seem to be in a hurry or they have a buggy full of tired children.
10. When you or your children buy something new, give something of yours away.
11. Sponsor a child through World Vision or Compassion International. Just about a dollar a day can help a whole family and village.
12. See how you can help the homeless or destitute in your area. Maybe all you can do is donate food or clothes to your community shelter but it is a huge help.
13. You could help your neighborhood with a clean-up day.
14. Or perhaps be a big brother or big sister or a grandparent to a child who just needs someone to give them love and attention.
15. Be aware of other people and what is going on around you so you can step in and connect and help. Each person God created has tremendous value. Be ready and available to do some little thing for someone else each day.
Manna from Heaven: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
Emotional Check-Up: The Happiness Effect. Did you know that emotions (such as happiness) and even behaviors can spread like an epidemic? A Harvard social scientist, Dr. Nicholas Christakis and his political science colleague, James Fowler at the University of California at San Diego announced their 20-year study showing that emotions can pass among a network of people up to three degrees of separation away, so your joy may, to a larger extent than you realize, be determined by how cheerful your friends’ friends’ friends are, even if some of the people in this chain are total strangers to you!
They found that if you’re feeling happy, you can thank your friends or family. Happiness is quite infectious and can pass among people in a network. It’s most contagious when two people mutually acknowledge they are friends. And the happiness dividend is more powerful if two people not only know each other but also are equally fond of each other.
So, remember to smile each day at those you love and those you don’t even know. Happiness is infectious!
Healthy Fit-Fact: Just as happiness is infectious, reports show that behaviors, poor weight choices or smoking, can travel in the same way. If an individual has an obese friend they have a 57% greater risk of being overweight. The same holds true for quitting smoking, with success 30% more common among friends of quitters than among friends of smokers.
Now, this doesn’t mean for you to end friendships! But, one of the reasons they did this study is that “we are always looking for exciting new areas of research that will help people live healthier”, says Richard Suzman, director of the division of behavioral and social research at the National Institute on Aging.
So, realize how important your health choices are to those around you. Your children watch more of what you do than what you say. If you want them to be healthy, to get enough exercise and to eat well, then you need to do the same. Good health is infectious!