In the United States, every fourth Saturday of October is celebrated as “National Make A Difference Day.”
What a marvelous, life-defining reason to recognize humanity’s goodness. Each person in every state would choose a singular act of kindness that could lift up one’s spirit, like handing an ice cream cone dripping with nuts and glorious flavors to a crying child, or singing a song to a grandmother while holding her hand, or driving a pregnant woman to her monthly check-up in the hospital. Nothing grand, just simple acts that leave a positive imprint on the beneficiary of kindness.
Today, as we approach the 20th month of the Covid-19 pandemic, I would like to challenge everyone to think of simple ways to make a difference in the lives of others.
Many organizations in the world encourage their members to do projects and programs that focus on improving lives by studying ways to effect change. These organizations, like Rotary International with 1.2 million members around the world, Zonta International with 800,000 members, Soroptimist International and Lions International all share a common mission and vision to foster a difference in the lives of their members, and families, the community at large, the nation and the world as a whole.
Let us be reminded by the wise words of the wizard Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings, my favorite movie of all time: “Some believe it is only Great Power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I found out. I have discovered that it is in the small every day deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
We all agree that little acts of kindness and love create a kinder, better and happier world. It is the thoughtful and meaningful things and actions that uplift the lives of those we love and, yes, even those we do not know. So, let us enrich ourselves, and our honor, by sharing our goodness without prejudice or judgment.
Today, as we try to make a difference by random acts of kindness, we allow our spirits to soar and thus fill our hearts with deep joy and contentment. These significant acts of kindness allow our generous hearts to create the ripples of kindness in circles that vibrate throughout the world. What a powerful thought!
Do we notice the everyday people around us who make our life seamless and happy? The garbage man, janitor, cook, driver, postman, Grab delivery man, gardener — everyone in the service industry. Let us replicate acts of generosity, care, compassion and responsiveness to those who are in need.
Let us lend our ears and open our hearts. Let us only speak words of clarity and truth to others to ease life’s confusions. Let us allow grief to settle as we weep in the midst of sorrows. Let us discern our life’s choices so we become mindful of other people’s woes and troubles.
Let me share with you today of a touching story that I shall never forget till my last breath. In my mother’s family, all our farm hands, house helpers and gardeners stay for generations of their families. They become part of our family and their lives are intertwined with ours as part of their own destinies. One day, as I was perusing my books in my private library, I observed this 10-year-old girl looking at all the book covers completely riveted and fascinated. I engaged her in conversation and asked her what she would like to be when she grows up.
She replied with confidence that she would like to be a teacher like my mother because she has raised us to be good human beings. I was so dumbfounded by her answer. There and then, I promised to fund her schooling until she became a full-fledged teacher.
A few years back, 15 years to be exact, she presented me with her diploma from the Philippine Normal College and we both cried for joy and hugged each other. She now teaches in a public school and, from my observation, the lives she continues to touch enriches every family of her students since education is the greatest leveler.
We will never know where our random acts of kindness will take us. All we know is that we feel happiest when we touch the lives of others one day at a time.
The author is one of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) and recognized as one of 100 Most Influential Global Filipinas for her 42-world class coffee table books published in the last 23 years.
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