Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Deck the Halls with Kindness

We recently moved back to Arizona after spending nearly a year in Port Angeles, WA. On the trip back we snuck in front of a snow storm and skated through Los Angeles before a small earth quake hit. I always say a few extra prayers whenever I travel. I also concentrate on positive thoughts as much as possible and try to envision a protective shield of white light around the vehicle we are driving.

Sometimes it can be challenging to focus on positive events, especially when on the road. When folks are enclosed in the anonymity of their own cars and trucks, it seems it is easier to leave their brain and courtesy on their doorstep.

While it may SEEM true that crazy drivers outnumber their safe and courteous counterparts, it is merely an illusion. The problem is we are geared to dwell on the negative and ignore the happy and uneventful. We curse the driver who cuts us off, but quickly forget the kind folks who wave us into their lane ahead of them or slow down or change lanes to allow us to merge onto the freeway.

Years ago I remember a coworker, Don Powell, gave me his insights into merging safely on the road. He said when he was barreling down the street, if a driver turned on their turn signal and made eye contact in a tacit request to enter his lane, he always waved them on. If they tried to force their way in, he was not as kind.

I have found the same thing is true in life. When we show courtesy and kindness, we increase the chances someone will do the same for us and others. I like to do this in the grocery store. If I’m standing in line and I see someone with only a couple of items, I always allow them to go ahead of me. I do the same thing when someone has a cranky baby or toddler. That is a courtesy to everyone within sight, hearing or scent of the unhappy tot.

Recently we attended a pre-holiday Christmas event. CB’s family does a white elephant Christmas exchange. While one or two items are decent gifts, most are silly things such as a screaming monkey, a whoopee cushion or a beat-up hat that comes back year after year with added decorations that depict the former owner’s interests or vocation.

CB’s sister, Lisa, hosts this annual event. Most of the siblings are grandparents now. This year I asked if I could bring my two granddaughters, Rosannah (Zanna) now age 5 and Briannah (Bree) age 3. This is how they looked a couple years ago.

This year they would be joining our great nieces and nephews that include: Xander, age 1, Hunter, 3, Meeka, 6, Zeke, 7, Annabelle, 9 and Kylie, 10.
Both Zanna and Bree remembered Hunter from an earlier gathering (he’s the little boy who not only OWNS a lot of toy cars, he SHARES them as well.) However, Meeka, who lives out of town, seemed a little nervous by this gathering of noisy relatives. I whispered to Zanna to try to make friends with her step cousin.

My affable granddaughter quickly complied with my request. Meeka seemed a bit apprehensive at first, but then told Rosannah and Briannah they could sit next to her if they wanted to do so. Before you know it they were fast friends.
We can learn a lot about this little interaction. Folks may seem unkind, but really they might be too shy or nervous to make the first overture toward a friendly encounter. While it is always a possibility that a kind gesture could be scorned, more often than not, it will be met with relief and gratitude.

The holiday season is a perfect time to initiate kindness. Also, I hope you can take a moment to sing some of your favorite Christmas carols. I like this one because even if you forget the lyrics, you can belt out the two sounds “fa” and “la” and sing with the best of them. To make things easier, here are the lyrics to the old Welch tune, Deck the Halls.

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Don we now our gay apparel,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
Troll the ancient Yule tide carol,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
See the blazing Yule before us,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Strike the harp and join the chorus.
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Follow me in merry measure,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
While I tell of Yule tide treasure,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Fast away the old year passes,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Hail the new, ye lads and lasses,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Sing we joyous, all together,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
Heedless of the wind and weather,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

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