In preparation for gathering around the Thanksgiving (in the United States) table at the end of this month, I’m challenging us all (wherever you live) to express gratitude every single day. The very best way I know of expressing true gratitude is an ongoing effort to give back in small and simple acts of kindness.
Our first *sprinkle* this month is designed to help you track these daily acts that help others feel warm and fuzzy.
Sprinkle No. 5 is to make a Warm Fuzzies jar and work to fill it up before the end of November.
Here’s What You Will Need:
1. Any medium sized glass jar (something you have around the house is perfect)
2. A bag of small pom poms, available at most general merchandise and craft stores (think Walmart or Michaels.) You could also use cotton balls.
3. Some ribbon and a tag to label your jar. Hmm, know anyone with an excess of ribbon and tags?
Each night at dinner or before bed, have members of your family recount one or more small things they have done to brighten someone else’s day. I’m going to spend the first several days this month emphasizing the easiest things we can all do, like — smiling at a stranger, saying “Hello” to someone who is looking down or looking sad, stopping to help a teacher or neighbor or spending a few extra minutes listening to someone you love. I’m also going to emphasize the importance of doing these small things for members of our immediate families — after all, they are the ones we love the most and sometimes they are the ones that need warm fuzzies from us the most (especially those prickly teenagers!)
Please note that you can still do this, even if you aren’t living with your family or don’t have children — simply set an alarm on your phone or computer and stop to reflect on something you’ve done. If you don’t want to create a physical jar, devise another way to tally daily “good deeds!”
I hope as you create warm fuzzies in your home and community, you will share them as comments here on the *sprinkles* blog. I’m so looking forward to reading your good ideas and sharing in your gratitude expressed this month!
This *sprinkle* idea comes from a talk given at the recent general conference for my church. In this talk, President Thomas S. Monson tells the story of Jack McConnell a medical doctor that grew up in the hills of southwest Virginia as one of seven children of a Methodist minister and a stay-at-home mother. Their circumstances were very humble. Dr. McConnell recounted that during his childhood, every day as the family sat around the dinner table, his father would ask each one in turn, “And what did you do for someone today?” The children were determined to do a good turn every day so they could report to their father that they had helped someone. Dr. McConnell calls this exercise his father’s most valuable legacy, for that expectation and those words inspired him and his siblings to help others throughout their lives. As they grew and matured, their motivation for providing service changed to an inner desire to help others.
Besides Dr. McConnell’s distinguished medical career—where he directed the development of the tuberculosis tine test, participated in the early development of the polio vaccine, supervised the development of Tylenol, and was instrumental in developing the magnetic resonance imaging procedure, or MRI—he created an organization he calls Volunteers in Medicine, which gives retired medical personnel a chance to volunteer at free clinics serving the working uninsured. Dr. McConnell said his leisure time since he retired has “evaporated into 60-hour weeks of unpaid work, but his energy level has increased and there is a satisfaction in his life that wasn’t there before.” He made this statement: “In one of those paradoxes of life, I have benefited more from Volunteers in Medicine than my patients have.” There are now over 70 such clinics across the United States.
In his talk, President Monson acknowledged that we can’t all be Dr. McConnells, establishing medical clinics to help the poor; however, the needs of others are ever present, and each of us can do something to help someone.
When you have a free moment this week, click on the link to Volunteers in Medicine and learn more about Dr. McConnell and his legacy of goodness.