For myself, for my children, I think it’s important that we all feel better about the world and about ourselves.  Of course, it’s also a benefit for the entire world.  Here is our list of the little things we do to brighten the world.

  1. Always smile at people.  Sometimes they smile back, sometimes they do not.  This is not my problem.  A smile might just make this person’s day. It really is infectious.
  2. Say hello, how are you, and listen for their response!  Your attention is the easiest free thing that is valuable to you, that you can give.  I really never have free time, so when I give someone my attention, I’m really giving them something important to me.  When my kids see me do this, it becomes their habit as well.  See, I’m spreading like wildfire here.
  3. Give things away, no matter how big or small.  I’ve sold old stuff of value before, but honestly, giving clothes to a kid who doesn’t have nice clothes or toys to one who’s only seen that toy in a commercial is a present to myself.  Every now and then, as my kids get older,  I go through their belongings and weed out what we have outgrown.  Do my kids enjoy this? NO. But wow do they feel good once we find those toys a new home for a younger child.
  4. Don’t say no, just say yes!  When a co worker of mine needs to switch a shift at work for one reason or another, if I can, even if I don’t want to, I say yes!  Because my slight inconvenience may mean the world to them to go see their kid in a game or whatever they are are doing.  If someone needs a sitter, and I do this rarely because I’m so busy, and I have no plans to leave home, yes, I’m happy to watch that kiddo! It might be someone else’s lifesaver!
  5. Help your elderly people! If you are going to the store, how hard is it to call and say I’m going anyway, can I pick something up for you? I live next to my father, a 72 year old who is not in the best shape.  When I drop off some bread or milk or whatever he needed, I make it a point to grab his trash out of the can on my way out. Little effort for me that saves him a lot of trouble, especially with cold weather.  Take 10 minutes of your day to call and check on someone.  When people get older and their kids or spouses are gone, a little of your time can really make a huge impact.
  6. Invite people to dinner.  My husband works with a guy.  He isn’t from here, and he doesn’t know a lot of people.  He’s always welcome for a Sunday football game or Thanksgiving dinner.  Why not, the more the merrier!  Everyone should get to see my ridiculous reaction whenever the Steelers are having a good game…I try to behave when they are not.
  7. Put  yourself in other people’s shoes. Now really, you know you’ve seen someone you went to school with and thought, OMG, what the heck happened to them?! Possibly a lot. You may not know their story. No one will be harder on them than themselves, so do yourself a favor and stop judging them.  Maybe they have become a drug addict with no hope.  Maybe they had a rough childhood or maybe no one cared enough to say let me help you help yourself. Who knows, who that person.  The one that says, can I take you to a meeting.  That’s lifesaving stuff right there.  At the very least, see numbers 1 and 2. Treat them like a person, smile, say hello, and ask them how they are.  They probably expect you to look at them strange and keep moving.  Surprise them!

That’s all I can think of at the moment besides the basics, conserve water and paper, drive less, eat organic etc etc.  Sorry I can’t save the cows, we’re omnivores here in farm country.  The best way that I can teach my kids these ways to be a better person and make their world better is by practicing what I preach. 😉

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