I recently read a story about a retired WWII veteran who had moved, along with his wife, to Florida. Their plan was obvious and included typical retirement ideals associated with relaxation, retirement and round about anything else they felt like doing at the moment. Two years after relocating, the gentleman’s wife died, leaving him alone in retirement and in life. He tried golf but it didn’t stick so he answered an add for literacy volunteers which eventually lead him to begin donating his time regularly to a local elementary school. The area in North West Florida in which the man lived was not Disney Land. Education was often a luxury and life frequently presented challenges we don’t often associate with the United States. Yet this member of “The Greatest Generation” showed up everyday to help. During summer, when the kids were on their break, he continued to volunteer as a tutor. In fact, it wasn’t until his memorial service (he died peacefully taking a nap) that his family and others found out how impactful the man had been. His contribution of time and assistance had positively affected over 1200 students, many of whom partook in a 15 minute video tribute outlining the importance he played in their lives. In addition to his time, and despite his fixed income, this father of three found a way to ensure that no kid came to school in the winter without warm clothes and that no Christmas tree was without presents. He received little fanfare and asked for no recognition. He actions were influenced only by the richness of his heart.
Kindness is the ability to care without caring. In other words, the ability to see others as fellow human beings, without concern for cultural background or personal preferences. As we enter into the time of year for giving thanks, i.e. Thanksgiving, it seems especially relevant to recognize the efforts and stories of people like the generous WWII veteran. It also seems important to explore how we might follow a similar path of inspiration towards a contribution of kindness in our own way. Simple
acts of kindness like buying someone a coffee or opening the door for a stranger are easy and proven to contribute to the happiness of both benefactor and beneficiary. Volunteering time is another excellent source of active participation with the potential to have a profound impact. Finally, because life is darn busy, sometimes the simplest way to promote kindness is to sponsor someone else’s effort by making a donation. Whether you believe in karma or not, donating to charity may be good for everyone’s bottom line, even Oprah says so… Check out the new app Pledgeling, a donation app connected to Evite which makes giving easy and organized.
A Good Place to Start – Bachelor Nation, the growing number of participants on The Bachelor series of television shows, includes several members who have used their celebrity recognition to champion causes close to their hearts. Perhaps chief among them is long time host Chris Harrison who supports The Tiger Woods Foundation, Direct Relief out of Santa Barbara and The Grant Halliburton Foundation for the prevention of teen suicide. Here are a few other Benevolent Bachelors I know would appreciate your support.