People around the world are leaving their homes again, going back to work, and slowly transitioning to seeing human faces beyond the handful they’ve been staring at for the past few months. The optimist in me hopes the extended stay in isolation most have endured has rekindled a greater sense of civility, courtesy, and caring. And by “greater” I don’t mean much greater. Even five minutes of kindness can have a major impact that can last for generations. Click To Tweet
During the peak of the Great Depression with unemployment in the U.S. at an all-time high and widespread food shortages while millions of pounds of food rotted in the fields, a five-year-old boy in Latrobe, Pennsylvania knocked on a neighbor’s back door, looking for a snack. The neighbor had grown accustomed to these visits, but on one particular day she decided to spend a few extra minutes with the boy.
“Mama Bell Frampton asked if I would like her to show me how to make my own toast sticks. Well, that was quite a day. She let me put the bread in the toaster and butter and jam on the toast, and she even let me (ever so carefully) cut the toast into four long “sticks.” Seems like a simple thing, but sixty-five years later, I can still feel it – that neighbor’s trust and my own pride at having made those first ones on my own. When I hear “Love your neighbor as yourself,” I often think of Mama Bell because I think she really did love me.”
That little boy named Fred took the lessons he learned about being a good neighbor and shared them throughout the world, over the course of his lifetime. You probably know him better as Mister Rogers, the very definition of a good neighbor and the epitome of civility and caring.
You don’t have to make your entire life’s work focused on being a good neighbor the way Mister Rogers did. Instead, use Mama Bell Frampton as your example. She took a few extra minutes out of one day for kindness and it changed the world in ways she couldn’t have imagined.
Do you have time for that?
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SOURCES AND FURTHER READING:
Fred Rogers: The World According to Mister Rogers