Saturday, December 11, 2010
Building community, yesterday, today, and tomorrow
We're in the midst of a blizzard here in St. Paul with an accumulated total of 20+ inches of new snow predicted with winds gusting up to 35 mph.
Inside, holiday warmth prevails as I work on several writing projects. I'm reposting below a few words that I hope will continue to be relevant at this special time of the year.
You all stay safe and warm!
BlogCatalog members were invited to post about some act of kindness we’ve performed. The following is my response to that invitation.
Acts of kindness are easily integrated in the course of our daily lives while doing weekly errands or shopping for special occasions. Regardless of the season, no group of people are more appreciative of a kind word than store employees, and it’s become my practice over the years to thank sales clerks and cashiers at the checkout counter for good service. Sometimes, I even take the time to fill out a commendation card or ask to speak to a supervisor.
One morning as the cashier at my local supermarket checked out my groceries, she paused to examine a package of meat more closely. She’d seen signs of spoilage that I’d missed in my haste to finish my shopping. The fellow at the end of the counter who was bagging up my purchases immediately dashed to the back of the store and replaced the meat for me. These two young people were smiling happily nearby as I commended them to their supervisor.
Customers assisting customers is another opportunity for spreading goodwill. Last August, I was looking for a decorative candle for a birthday gift for my daughter-in-law when another customer approached me. She explained she was visiting here from India, and she wanted to buy her hostess a nice gift. She asked for my advice and together we found a candle that matched the décor of the home where she was staying.
Many of us dread shopping during this time of year when stores are crowded, and people are impatiently standing in long lines. But I’ve found that even under those circumstances goodwill is contagious. Recently, I was back in the supermarket picking up a few last minute items for a cookie baking session. As I walked up and down the aisles, I was soon receiving and giving help to others: “Oh, the baking soda is on your right - right below the baking powder.”
“Have you seen cookie cutters anywhere?”
“Next aisle – over there by the pans and cookie sheets.”
Instead of a bunch of cranky people that day, we were good-naturedly teasing one another, smiling, and laughing as we came to one another’s aid; I left the store feeling as if a group of strangers for half an hour or so had become an ad hoc community.
And community, after all, is what it’s all about – as members of the BlogCatalog virtual community, in our neighborhoods, at church, at our local shopping center, and yes, even as we participate in the political process already heating up in the 2008 campaign.