Upon the completion of last month’s thirty days of gratitude series, which seems like only yesterday, because it was only yesterday, I decided to do another series for the month of December. However, as I contemplated what to write, two issues kept popping into my head, creating a not so festive case of writer’s block. So, I thought that I would begin by sharing the two issues that linger, as a disclaimer of sorts.
The first issue is one that I finally owned up to a few years ago. Despite years of fa-la-la-ing and ho-ho-ho-ing, I actually dislike Christmas. To be more accurate, I dislike the over commercialized, shop-until-drop, high-octane holiday that Christmas has become, as it usually leaves me stressed out and frazzled, despite taking steps to simplify it. I don’t begrudge anyone else who chooses to deck the halls with boughs of holly and don their gay apparel, but I much prefer a silent night lit up by stars and twinkling lights.
The second issue is the daunting thought of writing a “holiday” series, for fear of offending or alienating someone. While I grew up celebrating Christmas and have continued to do so as an adult, I appreciate and respect that this is only one of many celebrations, both religious and secular, that take place this time of year. So, while Christmas is my reference point, it is not my stopping point, as The Kindness Blog is non-denominational and all-inclusive.
If you are still with me after reading the disclaimer, I will share the visions for this series that have been dancing in my head and that hopefully will find their way to this blog. There’s a popular trend to do twenty-five or thirty-one days of Random Acts of Kindness this month, which I support fully, but I want to do something a bit different. To promote and appreciate the good tidings and good will of the season, I decided to focus on one thing each day that embodies the spirit of the season. This one thing could be something I do or that someone else does, but it will be something kind and good. It is my pleasure to share a story of kindness and goodness that I witnessed this afternoon.
For the second year in a row, I was honored to speak with the 8th grade class at The de Paul School, a grade school offering students who have learning differences specialized instruction, about a topic near and dear to my heart-homelessness. While I have done many presentations, this has become my favorite one to do for many reasons. One of the reasons is that each class at the school chooses at least one charitable organization to support, and they spend the first semester learning about the organization and the social issue it addresses and gathering resources to support the organization. Each class keeps their organization and cause a secret until they all reveal it at a “Compassionate Celebration” for the entire school and their families before the holiday break. It is such a powerful display of compassion, caring, and kindness by the students and their teachers, and the day shelter for homeless men where I work has been the fortunate recipient of their compassion.
They listened intently and asked thoughtful questions that conveyed an interest and concern for those in our community who are so very often forgotten or shunned. It meant so much to me that they cared so much about these men, and it meant something to one of the men, as well. As I left the day shelter to go to the school to speak, one of the men asked me where I was going, and when I told him, he said, “Tell the kids thanks for caring about us!” Thanks indeed!
Just one thing each day . . .