In light of the fact that we’re one week away from Valentines Day, love is on my mind.
But … not so much the Valentines kind of love. More of a charity kind of love.
You’ll notice what it says on my homepage: Cultivate a good life and record it. That’s going to mean different things to different people. For me it means, in part, that we try to love unconditionally and treat others with kindness. (It also means a hundred other things to me.) Are any of us perfectly loving and perfectly kind? Of course not. But that’s another part of cultivating a good life — to just do our best. Always.
Here are 7 suggestions of what we can strive to do to increase charity in our life. If even just one of these points might prompt you to do something this week, it was worth the quick stop here on my blog today.
1. Tell someone. You likely have someone on your mind that has had a positive affect on your life. Don’t keep that to yourself. Write an email or letter (the old-fashioned kind that actually goes through the mail system is even better!) and tell that person how they have been a blessing to you or your family. Be specific. You have no idea what that will do to brighten their life.
2. Kick gossip to the curb. We’re human. It happens. But we have complete control in stopping it. First of all, don’t be the one that gossips. It doesn’t look good on anyone. Being critical of others does not benefit anyone. Ever. If you’re in a situation when the gossiping begins, find a way to change the topic and focus on something more uplifting. What an admirable quality.
3. Recognize your blessings. Being proactive in actually talking about the tender mercies in your life or writing down the specific blessings you receive will naturally bring about more awareness of how rich your life is. Cultivate a good life … and record it. Your children will be blessed for reading your words at a later time. You will be blessed for reading your own words. Trust me on this one.
4. Cultivate the potential in others. Quick anecdote to illustrate: Several siblings in a family had a natural singing talent. Except for one of the brothers. As a young boy, they went through instructor after instructor but he just didn’t seem to have the gift. It didn’t seem like there was hope. His parents tried one last instructor and when this boy first sung for the instructor, he stopped the boy singing and said, “Where did you get this voice? That’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard!” The boy’s confidence soared, he completely blossomed, and he became known for his singing talent with full vibrato at a young age. True story.
5. Study. If you are religious and consider scripture to be a valuable and truthful resource (I certainly do), carve time out of your day to read scriptures on the topic of love, charity, service, etc.
6. Don’t judge. This is especially applicable to those who you do not yet know very well. When we catch ourselves beginning to make assumptions about someone, chances are we do not truly understand what’s really going on. Mother Teresa spoke this profound truth: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
7. Stop. If you’re the type that seems to be in go-go-go mode all the time (whether you thrive on that lifestyle or you’re just forced into that kind of schedule right now) … how will you ever be able to truly show charity to those who mean the most to you if you’re always so busy? Stop once in a while. Get on the floor with your kids. Look your husband in the eyes as he talks about his day. Listen to your child’s ramblings about whatever they want to talk about. Be engaged. Nurturing any relationship means carving out time to just BE with that person.
I sooo don’t want any of this to sound preachy. I just have these things on my mind and a blog is for sharing, after all. These are just a few gentle reminders of simple things we can all do, that can in turn make life happier — for you, for me, for those around us, and especially for those we care about the most.