Monday, February 28, 2011

The Power Of Nice

     I just finished a book titled "The Power Of Nice".  It was such a thought provoking and good book that I decided to share my thoughts.

     Basically, the book explains how much more we can get out of life being nice.  It seems like such a basic principal, but I think most people could use a little help in this area. 

     I bought the book because I was intrigued by the idea of having someone actually taking the time to write a book to encourage niceness. I consider myself a nice person and many nice things happen to me.   Is that a coincidence?  I think not.   

     Every time we speak, we choose our words.  You can choose to be nice or you can choose to be rude.  If you choose to be nice, chances are you will get a much nicer response.  Some people don't think you can hear emotions in our voices.  I disagree.  I think the tone of our voice speaks louder than the words.  People tell me they hear a smile in my voice.  That makes me feel good.  I want people to know that I am smiling when I talk to them.

     I truly believe that people that are nice to other people are happier individuals.  No one is happy all the time, but we do have the ability to make ourselves feel good by being nice.  There is a quote that I have always loved.  It goes like this:  "Be nice to everyone.  Not because they are, but because you are."    

     Imagine if ALL of us could just be nice to each other?  Can you imagine how much better we would feel?  I make yummy cupcakes and I give them to people because it makes them smile.  I make chicken noodle soup for people that are recovering from an illness.  I let people with small purchases go ahead of me when my cart is full. I smile at strangers.  I give compliments to people that I don't know.  I have paid for the person behind me in the toll booth.  All of these things make ME feel good too.   

     When was the last time you did something nice? Maybe you should try it.  Smile at a stranger.  Tell them to enjoy the sunshine.  Open the door for a person that has their hands full.  Do something nice every day.  I can guarantee that you will be a happier person for it.

     As parents, we are examples to our children every day.  By teaching our children to be nice, we are actually helping them to become happier adults.     

     We can make this world a better place.  One nice gesture at a time.  Oh, and you can always buy the book.  




Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bare Essentials (of life)

     Today I decided to go to Kohls.  I need a new purse and had earned some "Kohls Cash Bucks" and thought it would be a fine day to spend them (since they are going to expire soon).

     As I was driving to Kohls, the sun was shining, the music was great, and so I got motivated to go to the mall and check out a couple of stores there.  I am not that much of a shopper.  I love to get new things (who doesn't) but I just don't enjoy shopping.  I really wanted to get some more Bare Minerals lip gloss, but I couldn't even remember where that store is, so I decided to just go to Pennys and see what they had for purses.  I did find a purse and a couple of new shirts and headed out of the store. 

     As I was walking out into the mall, a young girl ran in front of me looking upset.  She was walking fast and and kept looking behind her and saying "stay away from me".  Just then, a Mom came up beside me trying to catch up to this young girl.  This was obviously her Mother.  The girl took off on a fast run and the mom broke into a fast run as well.  The Mom was trying not to make a scene in the mall, but the little girl was having a terrible temper tantrum.  As the Mom ran, her phone flew from her purse onto the mall floor.  A man that was walking, picked up the phone and was trying to get the Mom's attention.  This was impossible to do since the Mom was trying to catch her daughter.  I picked up my pace (remember - I was heading nowhere) and told the man that I would catch the Mom and give her the phone since she was having trouble with her daughter.

     Finally, the Mom caught the daughter and grabbed her.  The daughter let out a loud scream, fell to the floor and starting kicking her mom with her boots.  Right then, I got to them both.  You could see the Mom was VERY embarrassed by the scene her daughter was creating and people were starting to stop and stare.

     What to do?  Hand her the phone and go on my way, or offer her some help.  I decided to do both.  As a mother of five, I do know a few tricks.  One of the best tricks when there is a child with a temper tantrum is distraction.  So, I said to the little girl laying on the floor screaming and kicking, "Hey - look at what your Mom dropped.  I think this belongs to her.  It looks like you are not very happy.  Is there anything I can do to help you or your Mom?"

     The little girl stopped kicking and screaming and looked at me and seemed happy to hear my voice.  I bent over and touched her hair as she was laying on the floor and told her how pretty she was.  The Mom was clearly VERY upset.  I continued talking to the little girl and asked her how old she was and what her name was and I began to sense there was something amiss about this small child.

     Her Mom came close to me and said "My daughter suffers from autism and I said no to buying her a tiara and this is what happened.  I usually do not bring her to the mall, but I wanted to give it a try.  I feel awful right now and I am sure everyone here thinks I am a bad Mom".  She was on the verge of tears.

     I was smiling at the child while the Mom was talking to me and found out her name was Summer and she is nine years old.  Just then, Summer jumped up and took off again.  This time, Summer was walking at a much slower pace, but still upset.

     I told the Mom that I was a Mother of five and asked her if she would like my help, or if she would rather I left her and her daughter alone.  The Mom said "please help me".

     I suggested we stay back just a little bit from Summer and keep a close eye on her and make sure she was safe, but let her have the space that she felt was necessary.

     As we followed her, she looked back at both of us and you could see she was starting to calm down.  As she was calming down, we walked closer to her.  As we came by her side, she turned into a store and found a chair in that store.

     The store was the Bare Essentials store.  She sat down in a chair that they use for makeup application.  There was only one other customer in the store and I asked the sales clerk if she would be kind enough to put some makeup on Summer.  As the sales clerk was putting a little color on Summer's cheeks, I bought the lip gloss that I wanted.

     Somehow, I had ended up in the Bare Essentials store.  How exactly that happened, I am not sure.  But there I was, getting so much more than just lip gloss.  I was getting a lesson on autism.  I was helping a Mother in desperate need.  I was helping a child.  I was giving the Mom some reassurance that she was not alone in this world. 

     In a very short time, Summer was smiling and telling me how pretty she was feeling and that she couldn't wait to go home and show her little sister.  Summer's Mom said "thank you" in a very meaningful way and I left the store feeling like I had made a small difference in their lives.

     I felt very close to God at that moment.  Who or what else could it have been?