A life isn’t significant except for its impact on other lives.- Jackie Robinson
Antonio Basco lost his wife, Margie, in the El Paso Walmart shooting. She was his only family. He called for the community to join him at her service to say goodbye. The church was packed to capacity with 500 inside with another 1000 standing outside. He received flowers from around the world and was greeted with hugs and applause as he entered the service which brought a smile to his face. The community came together through love and compassion to make Antonio, a broken and lonely man, feel like somebody that mattered.
You can find a nugget of wisdom in the most unlikely of places. I bought a coloring book ,the “Groovy Abstract Coloring Book”, for my grandchildren and I to color together. On the back of one of the coloring pages was written:
Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.
I thought of this when I read about Mr. Basco.
To overcome we have to believe it matters that we do. To believe that we have to believe that we matter.
I am taking a chance and speaking for everyone when I say we all want to feel significant. It is a common denominator we all share no matter where we breathe in the world or the background from which we come.
I learned this one night in a small house in north Nashville where I helped with leading a small, faith-based group made up of black, urban, loving, young adults from a background of generational poverty, public school disparity, violence, fatherlessness- you name the social justice issue and it was represented.
On this particular night, there was a volunteer who helped sometimes who was a middle-aged affluent white man, a good man, doing good things. He came from a background of private school and lived in an upscale part of Nashville. And there was me. Somewhere in between. .
Our icebreaker question was: What is one goal you want to accomplish in your lifetime? The nice, well -to-do man answered : To have some significance to others.
I was struck by his answer because he had the thing that our world says would already make someone significant -affluence, correct? Secondly, it was the same for the young adults there without a privileged background. In the big picture, they were coming to this group looking for significance, to grow, to matter.Two totally different demographics- age, race, background- all with the same need to feel like a significant someone.
Being a person of faith, I was reading my bible one day and began thinking about the instructions given that we should write certain things on the “tablet of our heart.” As I thought it through, what is written on this tablet seems a very significant thing as we travel through this life. I do believe that we can write on the hearts of others with our words and actions…for the positive or negative.
How can we make everybody feel like somebody in a positive way? How can we write good things on their heart and help them feel significant?
- Be interested- I believe this is one of the most effective ways of encouraging others. Show that you’re interested in what they’re doing. Get them talking. Affirm what is important to them. Their passion might not be your passion but a friend once said, “Someone who can’t understand someone else’s passion probably has none of their own.”
- Acknowledge contribution big or small– . A simple “great job” or “thank you” can have a strong impact, which can make the difference between going on or giving up. Even better in today’s world, get that pen, paper and stamp out and send a handwritten note through snail mail!
- Gratitude– express it! I told my children “People don’t have to do nice things for you, show appreciation when they do.”
- Be present and listen! There is nothing that makes someone feel of less value than talking with someone who is constantly checking their watch, phone, email or staring at the television.
- RAK-Random acts of kindness– A friend recently showed up at my office with a dozen roses and a card on an especially hard day just for no reason at all! I will never forget it!
- Kind words– Letting someone know something you admire about them or like about them can change a life. Sometimes we see good things they may never see themselves.
- Hospitality- invite someone you might not normally hang with for a meal or dessert and coffee. I know one family who did this with “Soup Sunday” and a woman that has “share my table” Sundays.
- Use your gifts– We all have them. Look for ways to use them to encourage and strengthen others.
- Let the other person shine– If they are sharing something they feel good about no need to “one up”- let them have their moment.
Keep the faith- #KTF