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Happier new year

On this last day of the year 2017, I am cognizant of my annual resolution – I resolve not to make any resolutions. One commitment that I make often, however, is to increase the positive contributions I can make to my world.

For reasons that I don’t understand entirely, I decided long ago to identify or create new methods for generating small acts of consideration. It’s quite gratifying although it includes taking some risks.

Here’s how it works. Yesterday morning, I was eating breakfast and overheard the people at the next table wondering about weather. It was my last day in California and I had checked the forecast for my trip home.

Taking the chance that I would be advised to mind my own business, I volunteered the forecast, making certain that I converted the temperature to Celsius when asked. Of course, I refrained from asking why they were operating in Celsius. Clearly, I had nothing to gain other than being helpful.

Later I was asked to watch a fellow passenger’s suitcase in the airport and eagerly agreed to do so. Did I need to wait for most passengers to board before I entered the plane? Probably not, but I’m sure that it made boarding a bit easier for some.

A passenger next to me asked the flight attendant for a pen. As before, overhearing conversations entitles me to a variety of negative reactions. But I quickly produced the pen and told the recipient to keep it. He thanked me but said absolutely nothing else to me during the flight and that was just fine.

My point is that most of us have ongoing occasions to add some comfort to the lives of others. Every time that I can, I (safely) pause at driveways for the sake of enabling someone to leave a parking lot and enter the street.  We can all observe simple courtesies on the road as well as encouraging fellow shoppers to get ahead of us when they have few items or helping others with grocery bags.

Most of us can do several small acts of good-neighborliness every day. Just imagine the net effect if many of us ordinary folks exert ourselves just a little bit, by intention. Happy new year. Shalom.

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