Another aspect of Ubuntu, one that is inherent in it and is a common characteristic for all of us with whom this way of life rings true, is that of kindness. Kindness, as in doing good deeds for one another, reaching out or giving time, resources or a hug to another human, or animal, or the earth for that matter. Kindness toward all living things…..
I had in mind another aspect of Ubuntu to address this evening, but two events occurred tonight that seemed fitting for this theme. Our daughter is a Girl Scout, and I am one of the leaders of her troop. Now, it is a group of ten and eleven year old girls, which, if you are not a parent, or not yet a parent, that may not seem to have much impact. But, it is hard work. The girls are full of energy, easily distracted, and not always compatible with one another. However, in the two years that I have been a leader, I have had the time of my life, so much so that I am going to do it again this year.
As part of my duties, I needed to make some calls tonight to any of our girls from last year’s troop, to remind them to register, as well as any other girls that I thought might be interested in joining our troop. So, I called the mom of two girls that were in our troop last year. Now, these girls and their family struggle financially; they often have to go to clothing banks for school clothes; they rely on donations for Christmas gifts; and they often do not have a car that is in good running order. The girls have extra amounts of energy, and have been in the middle of some intense arguments within our troop in the past. They didn’t make it to any of our troop meetings for the last two months or so last year. It would have been easy to not call, to assume that the girls just couldn’t come back this year. But, I called their mom, to check it out. And, she was so grateful for my reaching out to her. She has a car, her life is finally “turning around”, as she said, and the girls are excited to come back. At the end of our phone call, she thanked me for reaching out to her, she said, “I really appreciate it; thank you so much.”
Telephone call number two. There is a friend of our daughter’s, whose mother had told me last year that she may want to have her daughter join our troop this year, because it is close to their house. That was several months ago, yet I remembered this conversation, and since we are registering new members now as well, I called her mother tonight to ask. She was so happy that I had called her; she definitely wants her daughter to join our troop, and will register her at the designated time and place. At the end of our conversation, she said “Aww, thank you for remembering us. Thank you so much.”
You see, a couple of things occurred to me as this happened tonight. First of all, I was not looking for gratitude or everlasting appreciation from either of these people; I was just reaching out, reaching out to a family. What I received from them in appreciation that they expressed really warmed my heart. The other part, is that it was only MINUTES of my time. Now to me, maybe that ten or twelve minutes on the phone was not much. Even though, at night when I get home, I am hardly ever on the telephone, I am on it all day at work. Even though it was just a few minutes of my time that I gave them, they were both so appreciative of my gesture. It was genuine, it was heartfelt, it was people caring about and for one another.
What is it that you can do, small or large, to share with someone, or some living thing, in your world today? You don’t need ideas from me, you know what to do. Do you know the cost of sharing just a bit of yourself with another living creature, human or nonhuman today, is?