What I’m Listening To: “Do Go On” a podcast about anything and everything
What I’m Reading: “City of Girls” by Elizabeth Gilbert
What I’m Watching: “The Devil Next Door” on Netflix
Let’s just get this out of the way right now.
It’s Black Friday.
Phew, there, we did it.
As I sit down to write this latest Morning Buzz, knowing full well many – ok let’s be real – most won’t see it because you are spending time with family and friends this weekend (as you rightfully should be), I thought about exactly that, as opposed to the lines I saw at various stores extending around the block last night on my 90-mile trek home from Thanksgiving. I thought about what it means to invest in family (whatever type that may be), and to invest in the goodness of what it simply means to be together on a holiday where priorities can quickly morph into things beyond the basics.
As someone who works in the social media realm, I recognize, and accept, that days like today are ripe with opportunity to educate the public about things from money-saving opportunities, public safety reminders, acknowledgment of options outside of what today is – looking at you Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Don’t think we haven’t forgotten you.
But I also thought about something else – what can we do to almost hijack today and turn it into something about giving and receiving that has nothing to do with monetary gain or revolving around the borderline insanity that rises from Black Friday in stores across the United States?
I’ve been particularly inspired to re-invest in goodness and kindness this year, for a variety of reasons I won’t share here. But, what bears more joy, and more long-term value, than a word of kindness, a sentiment of strength and support, or a warm smile and an affirmation that hey, you’re doing a great job, just by being you and showing up and caring every day?
If your answer was “Well, nothing, quite frankly, means more than that,” you’d be spot on. As government employees of various ranks, we all work to promote our communities, to keep them engaged and informed. We do alright at letting our internal teams know that yes, they’re killing it in their jobs.
But what if we were to combine the ability to share, between our external audience and our internal audience, especially today, an exchange of goodwill? No money. No cost to you or me, or any taxpayers. Just an opportunity to let one another know that in all this hoopla of the holiday season, some things are worth more than 70-inch, flat screen, 4K TV that is on sale.
Fred Rogers once said: “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”
What if, instead of just measuring our success based on monetary values, we measured it with kindness too? How can we, as government agencies, perhaps lead the charge a little bit on that, and be a force for investing in “good” today, tomorrow, next week, and beyond? What would that look like?
Starting small never hurts – compassion grows organically, so it would make sense to begin almost at a grassroots level. Say you’re out shopping today – it’s ok, bless you, I hope you make it out alright – and you see someone struggling, perhaps with a cart, a bag, or just someone who looks like a sour puss.
Would you be comfortable, and would you be willing, to put your energy and effort in to helping them out and letting them know that hey, everything’s alright? That you’re in this together? Would your time be worth those few extra seconds to just be there, human to human?
I believe firmly that, as these small actions grow outward, where these investments in small opportunities to reaffirm that, from one person to another, you matter, that we’ll begin to see something special grow beyond any hashtag holiday, beyond any savings opportunity, and beyond our own scopes and spheres of influence.
So while this column isn’t anything remotely government-related, I hope its relatable on a human level today, and other days too. I hope that this holiday season, we bond together to build better bridges between ourselves, and our neighbors. I hope that we see and believe in our core the value of human kindness, and the treat of goodwill to all.
Because you’re worth it. And your value is invaluable.