There is something infinitely rewarding about doing something for someone whom you know has no way of paying you back. A little under a year ago, as a matter of company principle, I was taught, or maybe I should say reminded, how important it is for our individual and collective growth as human beings to be involved in helping other people as they journey through life.
Usually when we think of helping people, we often think in terms of financial assistance, but that should not be the case. If you take a few minutes now to think back on people in your own past who have influenced your life the most, I bet you may not even be thinking of people with whom you had monetary exchange of any sort. For me, I would certainly add a teacher or two to that list.
Just this morning, I recalled someone whose act of kindness paved the way for me to dream. When I was in high school (please don’t ask how many years ago), we studied one of William Shakespeare’s plays, Macbeth. As you know, Shakespeare’s language doesn’t exactly fit in our modern day casual speech, so you can imagine how difficult it was to read, let alone understand what he was writing about. Back then, the teacher who took us in Literature-in-English, did more than just teach us about that text, she opened up to us a world we never knew existed! We lived Shakespeare; talking, eating, sleeping, dreaming and visualizing the whole thing. She took her time to answer each student’s question, nothing was beneath her. She was kind, witty, understanding, patient, taking interest in everything we did.
I suppose I don’t need to tell you that by the time we wrote the exams on that subject, everyone in the class was an authority of some sort on the play, Macbeth. And when the results came out, we all made her proud.
The thing is, to some people, it may not seem like a big deal. But to us, it meant a whole lot; it still does, as a matter of fact. Kindness and charity constitute a whole lot more than giving money to the needy. It is about the giving of ourselves; our time, talents, energy, to make the burden of another lighter. These acts of kindness are never about doing good to people who may someday be able to pay us back; it stretches beyond them to the unloved, untouched, unaided.
We often hear people say if only they had more money, more time, they would be able to help other people. But have we considered sharing the so-called little we have now? It’s not often merely about money; people need to be encouraged, listened to, and smiled at sincerely. These things have no monetary value but they are worth much more than we know.
Will you stop to say good morning to the security man who stays awake at night securing your safety? What about the teacher at your kids’ school? You know tons of jokes, have you thought of sharing one with your line supervisor, the one you and your colleagues often say always looks sad or angry? We have the ability to make the world a happier place just by these acts of kindness. It is true that the reward may not come back to us directly, but just think; you share a smile with someone, who in turn shares it with another, who decides to take it further by telling a joke to a woman contemplating suicide at that moment who laughs and decides the world is not such a bad place after all. It has amazing ripple effects, won’t you say?
In the words of Mother Theresa, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier”.