Once upon a time, in a world not so long ago, most people actually knew their neighbours and kept tabs on each other’s children and elders. Chicken soup was delivered to those who were sick. Baking was shared with neighbours as was the produce from the garden. No one worried about sickos grabbing children off the street or putting dangerous things into halloween candy and fruit. Santa Claus delivered coal to bad children. Neighbours talked over the back fence and helped others out.
It was a world where when disaster struck; you knew which neighbour needed to be checked on. You knew who the vulnerable were in your area. You cared about them and they cared about you. You helped others when they asked and even when they didn’t. You cared about those who were in pain or withdrawn and you respected other’s property.
Can we have a caring world today?
I believe we can but it requires some simple changes in the way we think and the way we belong to our communities.
It starts with family. It starts with parents setting guidelines for their children and living by those guidelines themselves. Children require several things that every parent can provide – love, attention, support, encouragement and protection. Yes children need food and shelter, clothing and education but if we provide for their emotional and mental needs, the material things are less important.
Either turn off the television or realistically discuss what is seen in the unreal world of television. This is also important as an adult because otherwise we think what we see on Shortland Street, Days of our Life, Lucifer and Suits are normal: the beautiful clothes, the luxury homes and apartments, the elaborate dinners and the abusive treatment of people.
Good writers, especially movie and television understand that you need conflict and resolution to prevent a story from being boring but seriously is that your reality? Most of us do have conflict at some time in our life but mostly we cope with a routine and the joys of doing things well.
And watching television makes us rue the ordinariness of our lives. (Books and movies can do the same thing). Studies and reports say that some people live their lives through reality television and soap operas.
Look around you. The people you see every day are the ones that really matter so today do the following:
- Smile at EVERYONE you meet
- Say hello and never be afraid to stop and talk for 30 seconds.
- Be kind to others. Open doors, help people with their load and be polite. Please and thank you still make a difference.
- Tell those in your family that you love them and say thank you to them every night as you hug them before going to sleep.
- Hugs are needed by every person. Touch people but only if they are comfortable with the touching. When we touch and hug something happens to our being.
- Share when you have excess of anything.
- Care for the neighbourhood. Never drop garbage and pick up others if possible. Watch where you pets defecate and pick it up.
- Plant beautiful flowers and share them with others.
- Grow herbs and use them liberally.
- Remember to teach your children that they have responsibilities and that nothing is theirs by right. Gratitude is something we need to practice every day.
- Take time to smell the grass, watch the sunrise and give thanks.
- Get your hands dirty occasionally. Physical labour never hurt anyone and it really grounds you.
- Feel the earth. Touch the grass, the leaves, the bark, the water, the wind and turn your face to the rain and the sun.
- Recycle as much as possible.
- Turn off the electronics.
- Laugh out loud often.
- Dance and move to music, even if only in your head
- Sing out loud.
- Spend time doing something new.
- Learn something new every day – experience ah-ha moments.
And when your heart is full of gratitude, love and laughter, you will care about others.: because to care about others you have to stop thinking only about yourself.
Live a purposeful life and enjoy it