Saturday, February 11, 2012

Be a Blessing


This week I heard an interview on the radio that caught my attention as it's something I think about often.  When 30-year-old Ryan Garcia of Chicago became a father for the first time, he wanted to become "a better person" and help make the world a better place for his daughter, so he started the blog project/New Year Resolution 366 Random Acts of Kindness (2012 is a leap year).  The title is pretty self-explanatory, but he has set out to complete a random act of kindness every day and is hoping that others are inspired to do the same. 

What struck me is what Ryan said has surprised him in pursuing this project so far, "It's kind of disheartening to see that people would be so surprised that another person wants to do something nice for them, so that's why I'm hoping that this catches on."  A self-proclaimed cynic, he states "I wouldn't say I was ever mean, but it's not like I was trying to be overwhelmingly nice."  I agree with Ryan.  The world would be a much better place if more people went out of their way to be "overwhelmingly nice".  As Matt and I prepare to welcome our Baby into the world and are faced with the blessing and responsibility of raising a human, I wish everyone felt the same. 

Pastor Troy's message at church last Sunday was about being generous to others. "Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and be generous and willing to share" 1 Timothy 6:18.  I think many people get caught up with the word generous and think, "I'm barely able to pay my bills".  Generous does not pertain only to monetary deeds, but to being kind and giving time.  You don't need a lot of time or money to be generous to others.
  • Hold a door open for someone, no matter your age or gender. 
  • Put your shopping cart away in the designated area instead of leaving it to block a walkway or parking space.  Better yet, offer to take someone's cart back for them.
  • Let someone go ahead of you in line at the grocery or department store.  Perhaps an elderly individual or a parent with a young child/children.
  • Smile at a stranger as you pass them rather than avoiding eye contact.  It may be the only smile they see that day.
  • Donate old/unused clothes or household items to a local non-profit such as a transitional housing facility for homeless individuals.
  • Give up one Saturday a month to volunteer at your local food or clothing bank or soup kitchen.
I thank my parents for teaching me the importance of be generous and kind to others.  My Dad never met someone he didn't like or couldn't talk to.  If he didn't like someone, I never heard about, because he isn't one to talk ill of others.  My Mom took me with her to volunteer sorting clothes in the clothing bank in the small town we grew up in and I also remember volunteering at the food bank. My Mom also set an example for standing up for those others make fun of.  There was a boy in my fourth grade class that was ridiculed and beat up on a daily basis not only at school, but as he walked to and from school.  I'm pretty sure his home life didn't offer much relief either.  My Mom decided she could not just sit by and watch and would offer him rides to and from school, we even went to the police station to report what was going on.  I remember being embarrassed about it at the time, but can now thank my Mom for standing up and being kind to someone who desperately needed it. 

You know the feeling you get when you're around people who make you feel loved?  Why wouldn't you want everyone else to feel this also?!  What a wonderful world this would be if instead of gossiping and bringing other down, we all set out to build others up!  I challenge you to find ways each day to be a blessing to others, to those you know and to complete strangers.  You can even follow Ryan Garcia's journey on 366randomacts.org for ideas.  Matt and I thank Ryan and all of you for helping make this world a better place not only for our unborn child, but for us all. 

How can you be a blessing today?

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