That Rings a Bell....
Let's take a break for a moment from business. I would like to relate to you something I experienced recently that has made this a better holiday season for me.
This is without question the most stressful time of year. There is so much to do, so many obligations to fulfill, so many smiles to wear, and so many smiles to create. We all get a little overwhelmed, a little, cynical and a little jaded. Bah! Humbug! Right?!?!
I got a cure for you if the above is getting all too familiar. Ten days ago, I got a call from a colleague who was desperately trying to find someone to fill-in, last minute, as a Salvation Army Bell Ringer. Hmmmmm, I said, what the heck, I have the time, and it's a good cause.
I was assigned to the Wal-Mart on Amherst St. I arrived thinking: here I am doing a good deed; I know I'll be bored, but it's only an hour and I can contribute that in the holiday spirit. Wow, what a good guy I am!!!
What I noticed first was... the children. They all wanted to put something in the kettle.
It was natural for them. They would stop mommy or daddy and ask for change, then come with a big smile and put the money in the bucket. I found myself saying, "Thank you and Merry Christmas", to a lot of children.
What I noticed second was the parents. Many of them looked like they should probably be taking money out of the bucket rather than putting it in. They would stop reach in to wallet, pocket, or purse, pull out a dollar bill, fold it and slip it in. Most had kids, some didn't, but the numbers were amazing. Hardly a person passed that pot without making an effort to give. No fanfare, no show, just humbly making whatever contribution they could.
What I noticed next was the teenagers. Punks if you will. You know those irritating irreverent wise guys!?!? Almost without exception, hats turned backward, they reached into their low slung, baggy pants and tossed in a buck. They smiled, always, and wished me a Merry Christmas. There was one kid, the epitome of the cocky teen probably seventeen, cool as they come, latest look, even carrying a laser light. As he walked by, he told me, he'd be back. "Sure!", I said to myself. Now this one is not going to disappoint me. He'll live up to my cynical judgement of his generation. I won't see any bucks from him!
My jaw must have dropped when he ambled out, strode over to the kettle and slid in a five spot!!! "Merry Christmas", he said, "and have a good night!"
What I noticed last was how quickly the hour went by, how I really didn't want to leave when my replacement came. I noticed how my cynicism had faded, and I really felt better about people. I saw in those faces young, old, and in-between a willingness to give ... a simple joy in giving, if you will. I think I saw what this holiday is supposed to be all about. I know I am grateful and fortunate I got the call.
Feeling a little cynical? jaded,? overwhelmed!!!!???!!! Go ring a bell!!!!! It'll do your heart good.
Have a Happy Holiday