It's Thanksgiving week here in the US . . . a week traditionally spent cooking, gathering with friends and family, and reflecting on our many blessings. I've decided to take a little break from my usual blog "structure" (such as it is) to focus on gratitude this week.
When I was a growing up, my mom had many "Mom-isms" that she used to repeat to my sister and I. You know ... those words-of-wisdom that you roll your eyes at when you're a kid and swear you'll never say if you have kids someday. But, well. They tend to stick. Because they were usually true and right and worth noting.
Anyway. One of my mom's frequently-used phrases (that I particularly chafed at) was . . . You'll catch more flies with honey.
I really didn't like this one. Because first of all . . . ewwww. Not a picture I like to hold in my mind, really. But mostly because when I was a kid, I rarely saw (or could quite imagine) a payoff from being "nice" to people I didn't want to be "nice" to, mostly because they weren't being "nice" to me in the first place. But I was a good girl and I (mostly) listened to my mom and I did try to be "nice" to people I didn't want to be "nice" to (mostly).
And, of course, like so many things my mom used to repeat . . . she was right. You DO catch more flies with honey! And . . . being "nice" - which is really being KIND - is a simple way to spread reciprocal joy and gratitude!
"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."
--- Mother Teresa
(Yep. Mother Teresa again.) (Because she isn't a saint for nothing.)
When I'm out and about in the world (which, granted, isn't as often as it used to be these days), I try to keep my mom's words - and Mother Teresa's sentiments, too, when it comes right down to it - in mind (and in my heart). I do try to be kind to all people I encounter - friends or strangers, happy or grumpy, calm or frazzled. I don't mean that I'm Miss Jolly Sunshine everywhere I go or anything, here . . . but . . .
I smile. (Even when I'm wearing a mask.)
I meet eyes.
I might chit-chat.
I say thank you. And please.
I even give random compliments.
If I have an opportunity to make someone else feel good - to put a smile on their face - why be stingy about it? Why hold back? It's easy to smile. To say thank you. Or even to pass along a random genuine compliment.
There are no strings attached when it comes to kindness.
And . . . it forges a human connection that fosters gratitude.
And we all need more of that right now!
(So, thanks, Mom. I was listening even when you thought I wasn't.)
And now, a poem. . .