When I was little, my mom told me to do good before dropping me off for school one day. My dad corrected her that to be grammatically correct, it’s do well. I firmly believe that she meant what she said.
Everyone has some sort of plan upon greeting each day. We all have to do lists, and some of us write them down. Things we have to do for our jobs (prepare for presentation), our houses (do the damn laundry already), and our families (go through photos with Mom, when she was here, of course). These to do lists haunt us and push us. They make us feel accomplished. Sometimes they drive us insane. “There were three things I needed to do today. What was the third? Shoot. Where is that Post-It note?” Not like these are personal examples or anything.
Driving to work this morning, I realized something. The plan for every day can be far more simple. Do good. Not do well, although doing things to the best of your ability at any given time is always, well, good. But rather, do good. That single, solitary goal on each and every day. Do some good.
For all the things you have to do to keep your life in order, do one thing for someone else. That’s my challenge to anyone reading this. Every time I reread this, I’m challenging myself to it too.
Smile at a stranger. Hold the door for an elderly gentleman. Give up your seat for the pregnant woman on the train. Let someone pull their car out in front of you. Be a little more kind to and patient with the waitress bringing you your dinner (she’s serving your family and friends instead of eating with hers).
Help a friend in need. Help a friend period. Really listen when someone opens up to you. Compliment a coworker who worked exceptionally hard on a project. Tell your husband how much you love every little thing about him from his undyed hair to his broken toe, because all you see are his kind eyes and megawatt smile. Tell a friend how you couldn’t live without their silliness or heart. Tell your daughter how proud of her you are for the things that are far more important than her “A” in geometry or the goal she scored at soccer. Tell her you are proud of the person she is on the inside, how appreciative you are for her being such a big help fixing dinner, how inspired you are by how non-judgmental she is with others, and how touched you are by how patient she is with her grandfather who has Alzheimer’s.
Volunteer with any charity of your choosing. Play with and cheer for the athletes at a Special Olympics event. Spend a couple of hours at a food bank. Donate ten bucks to the National Brain Tumor Society. Go walk with Out of the Darkness to raise awareness for suicide prevention.
It doesn’t have to be much. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just do some good.
I have a slightly different take on the ideas of karma and the law of attraction. They say something along the lines of if you do good, good will come back to you. Almost like if you volunteer at a homeless shelter, one day you’ll win the lottery. That’s nonsense.
It’s far more simple than that. If you do good, you feel good. When you help and show kindness to others, you feel good. I’ve told people that I volunteer for Special Olympics for entirely selfish reasons. I help the athletes (okay, I play with them and dance with them while they wait for their events), but it seems to make them smile, and that makes me feel good. The whole process it totally fulfilling. It makes me happy. That’s karma.
Some amazing friends of mine wrote a card for me with a perfect quote on it by James Barrie. “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” That’s karma.
So here’s my challenge. Go do some good. Today or any day. Make it a part of your daily to do list. However little or big, you’ll make a difference and feel a whole lot better about yourself. It’s a win-win.
Thanks for the advice as always, Mom.