Archive for December 2011
I used to believe that in order to make a difference one had to make a grand gesture. With time I have come to understand that the smallest gestures can have the biggest impact. Little deeds can make a major difference
Since my mother’s death, I have been sorting through her documents and papers. As I’ve been trawling through years of bank statements and receipts I have been overwhelmed by her lifelong consistency in supporting charities and aid organisations.
My mother was raised to give to those in need. As a child she would put 10 cents – 1/5 of her weekly allowance – into the collection plate at church. As she grew older, she continued donating to her church, the Red Cross and the United Way, as well as a scattering of local museums and arts organisations. Most of the organisations my mother contributed to weren’t ‘high profile’ and all contributions made a significant difference to the balance sheet.
Not a wealthy woman, Mom managed her finances with care. While many of her friends gave thousands of dollars to support their chosen charities, ensuring them a place at the top table, autographed photographs of world leaders, and their names emblazoned in gold on donors’ plaques, Mom would send cheques for $10 and $20 which earned her pads of paper and gummed labels with her name and address on them. (I treasure those pads of paper and think of my mother whenever I write myself a note.) For Mom, it wasn’t about the recognition. Or even the tax deduction. My mother contributed what she could because she wanted to make a difference to people in need.
Remember: A small contribution is better than none at all.
Tip: Making a difference can take many forms. Fix a meal for someone who’s feeling poorly. Help a child with homework. Take the garbage out. Say a kind word to your partner or child before going to sleep. Smile.
Anecdote: A few years ago I had an operation and had to stay in bed for several weeks. One day my friends Belinda and Nicky came to visit. While Nicky helped me bathe and put on a fresh nightgown, Belinda replaced the rumpled sheets on my bed with freshly laundered linens and laid out a picnic lunch for the three of us to enjoy. I felt loved and nurtured. Belinda and Nicky continue to make a difference in my life.
Try This: The next time you notice someone in need, consider how you could make a difference to that person’s life and act upon your thought.
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