There are so many reasons to give to others. Whether we are truly altruistic and simply give in to our empathy for others in need or whether we love the feeling we get ourselves. I don’t think it really matters why. Our motivations are our own, but at the end of the day, helping another being is the point of it all. Putting kindness into the world has a way of spiraling outward which can only improve our world.
Sometimes there are moments in our lives that show what kind of an impact we have. Being a strong advocate for a cause and making a huge difference is wonderful. I have so much admiration for those with the dedication and willingness to make a large impact. However, I have just as much respect for those small acts that impact only one or a few. They are just as important and have a cumulative effect that can change the world.
I have two small incidences in my life that play over in my mind when I am feeling invisible. As a teen, I was pretty much a rule follower. I minded authority, did what I was told, and didn’t make trouble (much anyway). When drugs showed up in my neighborhood it didn’t even occur to me to join in. When I met my group of friends after school one day an older boy threw out the suggestion to go to a quiet meeting place we had and try the drugs he had. I didn’t even think about it, I just said no, let’s go play kickball like we usually do. I wan’t trying to stop others from taking drugs, I just wanted to play kickball (my absolute favorite game at the time). Most of the kids followed me and continued meeting me to play day after day. I didn’t figure out until years later and speaking with some of my friends that they had planned to join in with the others, but I had given them another option. I think I made a difference by simply being me and not following someone else. It seemed to let the others feel less peer pressure and make alternate choices.
The other incidence was when I got laid off from work. My company was going under and I knew it was just a matter of time, but the phone call really upset me. I couldn’t sit still, so I got in my car and just headed out to get away for a while. At a stop light there was a guy with a sign asking for money for food. I just looked at him and thought, “he may have been where I am at one point”. I pulled out my wallet and had a twenty and two ones. I handed him the twenty and I will never forget the look on his face. He was so surprised and grateful. He actually asked me “are you sure?”, I just said yes, smiled, and drove off. His gratitude was more of a gift for me than the twenty dollars I gave him. It may have only fed his stomach for a day, but it fed my soul for years. I felt so much better that I was able to stop shaking and my mind stopped panicking. It was a small gesture, but it was important.
Dr. Jacqueline Grooms, D.C.