ThinkKit Day 23: You’ve ranted. You’ve raved. You’ve freestyled, soapboxed, and even waved a magic wand or two. Today, let’s keep it positive. Who (or what) is doing something good? Share a story of your positive action, whether it’s a favorite charity, foundation, or nonprofit – or just an individual whose penchant for do-goodery makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.

Want to know who or what is doing something good? The truth is, anyone can do good. It doesn’t have to be a big public display of giving, it doesn’t have to involve money or even necessarily any extra time.

It annoys the living crap out of me how hard some people work to be nasty. It’s so much easier to just be nice, people!

Make eye contact, say hello, and pay a compliment to a total stranger. And if you don’t think this matters, try it. You will see the person you complement light up in their eyes and even your own disposition will improve.

I find myself wanting to yell to some people, especially people who work with children, YOU MATTER! Your attitude, passion, your words, your interest in kids—all of that matters far more than you might think.

It reminds me of when I delivered Phillip. I had the most amazing nurse; I will never forget her. Her name was Sarah Napier and she—more than any other single thing—made my first childbirth an amazing experience. I had prepared for a natural birth and Sarah was completely on board. I can still see her holding my hand and hear her calming voice. She just made everything a little better; I knew it was going to be okay. She had all the power that day, really she did. I was completely vulnerable and at her mercy. She chose to be nice; that made all the difference for me.

Shortly after I delivered, Sarah’s 12-hour shift was over and a new nurse came in to take over. She chose to not be nice. And, it wasn’t so much that she was mean, but she was unattached—not present. She was going through the motions, settling in to the routine on the first few hours of her long shift. It felt like I was the only thing keeping her from being where she really wanted to be (which, of course wasn’t at all true. She had several other patients too). She moved about the tiny delivery room like a robot, checking her boxes and tracking vital signs. Her touch was cold, her voice almost somber. Finally, I looked at her and gently reminded her of my current reality. “I know you do this every day, but this is my first baby.”

I honestly think she had forgotten that for some people, this is the moment and she can influence that with her attitude, words and body language. While it wasn’t all of the sudden rainbows and unicorns, she certainly dropped the hard exterior and at least made conversation and eye contact. Her touch softened and her words were delivered with a hint of sincerity.

Words, touch, eye contact, a smile—it all matters. A lot. You can make a huge difference for someone in need of something, even if they don’t know they need it. The hard thing is, you never know when you are going to make that difference and you often won’t know you were the one who made the difference.

When we were in Asheville, TN over fall break, every time I would encounter a kid living on the street (there is quite an extensive homeless population on the streets of Asheville), I was intentional to meet eyes and tell them someone somewhere misses them. It drove my husband nuts. “You don’t know that for sure,” he would say. But I insisted that everyone had someone somewhere who missed them and maybe just hearing it would change things for one of them. One of them would go home, wherever that might be.

A teacher’s encouragement changed my middle son’s course in school. That teacher, after years of feeling like he was swimming up the creek, showed my son he could do it. He put his faith in him and my son delivered. It changed everything—forever.

Remember that your words matter. You matter.

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