Caring through action makes for a better community

I love this time of year. For all that’s wrong in the world, this is the season of “Good Will.”

I see it in different businesses as someone wearing felt reindeer antlers greets a customer with extra joy. I see it on social media when people set up a pantry for families who are struggling financially, or when fundraisers are started to help neighbors struggling with a terminal diagnosis, purchasing bicycles for disadvantaged youth, or collecting stuffed teddy bears for children affected by unexpected tragedy. I see it in people taking time to drop by their neighbors’ homes with a small gift in a spirit of goodwill. 

I also believe that in this season (and this is not proven), as the number of impatient drivers in holiday traffic grows, the number of more patient drivers increases at the same rate –  both possibly heightened by a certain Mariah Carey song. If you know, you know. 

This holiday season catches people more at their best and the whole community is better for it. I suppose there is a lesson in that. When each of us is at our best, the world is a better place. More importantly, the secret ingredient is the contribution we each make in our community. When we do things simply because we care, it is us at our best. 

It’s the support we give to meaningful efforts. It’s the interaction with our neighbors. It’s the acts of kindness that mostly go unnoticed. 

Yep, I love this time of year. There seems to be plenty of opportunities to show, “I care.”  I think the world could use more of that; not the feeling of caring, but the action of caring, in what I like to call, caring through action. 

One of my neighbors shares peanut brittle this time of year. It lifts my spirits for two reasons: one, because it’s delicious, and two, because it’s such a nice gesture that says, “Hey, neighbor, I care.” 

You might add an element of surprise to your contributions this time of year. Remember the “paying it  forward” concept? I know some of you are already engaged in this. For instance, someone in line ahead of you at an ice cream parlor pays for their ice cream and they pay for yours, too! (Thank you for that, Mister, your surprise kind act will be remembered for a long time.)  

You could also surprise someone by leaving an anonymous gift by showing up to spend time with a person when they’re struggling. I’m sure you are creative enough to come up with some surprising gestures of goodwill. Surprises are a good way to create a moment that will be remembered for years to come.

So, there it is. One of the strengths of a community is the contributions, large and small, of  its people. So, “Happy Holidays!” and “Merry Christmas!” Let the good will spread and grow. Let us be generous in what and how we contribute. Caring through action makes for a better community.

By William Boardman

Guest Contributor
Guest Contributor
Articles from community members to share their viewpoints, or letter to the editor.

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