The Little Things Make a Difference

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Have you ever randomly made eye contact with someone and they smiled at you? For most of us, regardless of our mood, a smile from someone makes us feel good. Sometimes we are so immersed in our own world and thoughts, we don’t take the time to just smile. Try making a conscious decision when you wake up in the morning to be grateful for being alive and having been given the gift of another day. Make an effort to smile when you see someone and watch their reaction. Usually, a smile is contagious, and the person will smile back. When we focus on the little things in life, like being grateful or a smile, it helps us to be happier and handle the bigger challenges with less stress. Studies have shown that smiling makes us feel better.

Send someone a text and tell them to have a great day. It may make a difference in that person’s attitude. We really never know what people are going through or how they are feeling, but kindness is always good medicine. You really never know how much kind words or a smile will positively impact a person, so try saying or doing something nice for someone.

Not long ago, I was going through a drive-thru, and when I pulled up to the window, the cashier told me the car in front of me paid for my lunch. Of course, I had to pay it forward and pay for someone else’s lunch, but I chose to pay for the person standing in line inside the restaurant. I’m sure they were just as surprised as I was. I said thank you to the cashier and drove off thinking that was one of the nicest things I have ever experienced from a stranger. It made my day to think someone I didn’t even know did that for me.

Try doing something simple, like holding the door open for someone. I’m sure you have been behind someone that has slammed the door in your face instead of holding it open for you. I choose to believe it’s never intentional, but it’s rude. Offer to pick up lunch for a co-worker if you’re out. Help a neighbor by cutting their grass. Send a card to someone or just exchange a sincere smile.

Acts of kindness are not always monetary; a simple smile or words of encouragement mean more. Whether you are on the receiving end or the one giving, it will make a positive impact. I challenge you to do something nice for someone, even if you don’t know them.

In 4-H, we work with youth in hopes they will grow up and become citizen change agents – making the world better with one kind act, one project, one movement at a time. Perhaps this is who you are or want to be. Maybe you should join the ranks of our organization and be the role model for our future change agents. After all, change – environmental or personal – begins with you. Sign a child up for the 4-H program and give them the opportunity to learn about making a difference. They will learn leadership skills, public speaking, community service, citizenship, and so much more. Adults, you have the opportunity to give back by volunteering and showing acts of kindness to the youth of Robeson County.

For more information, please contact Wendy Maynor, 4-H Youth Development Program Associate with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 910-671-3276, by E-mail at Wendy_Maynor@ncsu.edu, or visit our website at http://robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.

NC State University and N.C. A&T State University are collectively committed to positive action to secure equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination and harassment regardless of age, color, disability, family and marital status, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, and veteran status. NC State, N.C. A&T, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.