By Kevin Sheehan, Special Columnist
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Regardless of weekly content, this column is designed to help others expand their way of thinking and promote creativity, empathy, and thought in general.
With about a week until Christmas, most of us are probably just ready to have it over with. I have never been a fan of the holidays myself. It is not that I don’t enjoy the cooler weather, or wonderful dishes like pumpkin pie and eggnog (probably the two things I look forward to the most about this time of year), but I am not a fan of the holidays for several reasons.
Maybe my view could be skewed based on my own personal history, or perhaps it is the lesser known sights that I see during the holiday season that bother me. The pressure of getting the right gifts, the pressure of the gifts being expensive, the expectation of such things from others, can cause stress and make the holidays more stressful than enjoyable, especially to a person who may not be financially stable.
A friend of mine always shares a picture on Facebook around this time of year of a person cutting themselves to the point of bleeding using a credit card. That provokes a very powerful thought about the expectations and the “spirit” of the season.
Speaking of the “spirit” of the season, I have to say that is my least favorite aspect of it. Not that I am against the spirit of being generous or kind, but the ideology that one should be more kind than usual due to the time of year. A person should be kind and generous all year round. Why would someone go out of their way to be helpful and generous because of the ‘holiday cheer’?
To do such, would inherently admit that the person is not as kind or generous individual throughout the rest of the year, and therefore in a position where they know they could be a better person, but chooses not to do so.
A few months back, I stopped into a gas station that frequently has people asking for money outside of the front. A man (dressed like he was homeless) asked for some money. I politely declined, as I only had my card. Normally, people don’t press further, but then the man asked if I could at least buy him some grits for breakfast. I left him behind outside, saying, “I’ll see.”
Looking at the menu inside the gas station, grits were one of the cheapest menu items. I ended up getting him grits with eggs mixed in. I walked out of the gas station after paying, and handed him the tray. His eyes lit up and he exclaimed, “You bought this for me? Oh thank you man, god bless you!” and then he tore into that food quicker than I could respond with a pleasantry.
That was this past autumn. I do not intend to share this story to toot my own horn, but to exemplify the idea that kindness and generosity is not related to the time of year. Hungry people are hungry all year, not just holidays. People wanting to be included and shown kindness want that all year, not just during the holidays.
Much like my angst with New Year’s Resolutions, I do not believe there should be a determined time in which someone should try to better themselves or apply themselves to be a better individual. Basic human decency has no beginning date, nor will it ever have an end date. So start now, get your kindness out of the trance of the holi-daze, and make it a part of yourself all year round.
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