Just recently, I was at Costco for my weekly grocery run.
After unloading my groceries into my van, I noticed a woman in the parking lot struggling to get an awkward shaped, heavy box out of her cart into her vehicle. I pushed my cart into the cart return and walked over and asked her if I could help her. She gladly took me up on my willingness to help. Together we lifted the box out of her cart and into the back of her vehicle. She thanked me profusely.
What she said next stuck with me.
She said, “People like you remind me there is still good in this world. Thank you.”
I walked back to my cart with a smile on my face and my heart felt happy. I felt joyful because I was in the right place at the right time and one little gesture made a difference in the life of a random stranger.
This encounter got me thinking.
The world is so heavy right now. There is so much hurt, anxiety, stress, turmoil, and dissension. There are so many times it feels unmanageable and out of control. It feels like it would be easy to give up on people. It would be easy to chalk it up to 2020. And while those feelings are valid, what if we realized that even in the midst of a hard year there is still good in this world?
- There are still things to be grateful for.
- There are still people to help.
- There are still people to love.
- There is still good work to do.
The question is how do we do that?
How do we still show up for people even when we may be struggling or finding it difficult to do so?
The day of my encounter at Costco, I came home and shared my experience with my family. I wanted my kids to hear a lesson from this experience. If your house is anything like our house, Daniel Tiger and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood are familiar television personalities. With the catchy songs that are sung, there is always a lesson to be learned.
While those shows speak to kids specifically, they also speak to us as adults.
One of the lessons that I remember from watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood as a kid and what my kids remember from Daniel Tiger is to “look for the helpers.”
Look for the helpers when times are hard.
Look for the helpers during times of disasters. Look for the everyday helpers. I think about my life and big things that have happened. I remember 9/11 as if it were yesterday. I remember all of the helpers during that tragic time in our history. I remember the firefighters and emergency workers who risked their lives to help people they did not even know.
Look for the helpers.
I think of all of the helpers who show up for strangers during natural disasters and times of tragedy.
What lessons can we teach our kids during this year of 2020?
We can teach our kids that small gestures can mean the world to someone, and can be as simple as taking a cart back for someone in the parking lot at a store. That can mean leaving a quarter in a cart at Aldi. That can mean offering to help someone who is struggling when you are out and about. It can mean holding the door for someone. It can mean leaving a gift of goodies on a neighbor’s porch just because. It can mean paying for someone’s groceries at a store, or paying for their food or drink in the drive-through. It can be taking a meal to a friend or family member. There are so many gestures that are easy to do. Our small acts may just make the day of the recipient and may restore their faith in humanity.
- I want our kids to know that all gestures no matter how big or small when done with love can make a difference.
- I want our kids to know that there is a world out there bigger than themselves.
- I want our kids to know that even small gestures can have a ripple effect and propel someone to pay it forward.
Even in a year where everything feels out of control . . .
- I will remind my family to keep caring.
- I will remind us to keep being kind. I will remind us to keep showing up.
- I will remind us to still find the good in this world.
- I will remind us to be brave.
And above all else, I will remind us all to keep loving.
Love is what our world needs right now. If we can all extend even a little bit of that to those we know, and those we do not know, our world will be a much better place.
Let’s give grace and love to those around us and let’s teach our kids to do the same.
“In this life, we cannot always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” -Mother Teresa