2020 was certainly one for the books wasn't it? Over the last year, we have experienced unprecedented circumstances in our communities, states, our country, and around the world. The way we work, communicate with one another, go to the store, and even celebrate holidays changed in a matter of days, and we're still adjusting to this new "normal" we find ourselves in. We're reminded though that one thing hasn't changed in our own community, and that's something we believe could change the world, no matter what circumstances come our way.
Kindness keeps us connected whether by screen or in person, even when a mask hides our smile. Kindness keeps local businesses running because their friends and neighbors are committed to helping them through this time. Kindness helps teachers and students alike as they push forward on this journey they weren't prepared for.
It's ALWAYS best to choose kindness. With the changes we've experienced over the last year though, it's easy to wonder how we can show kindness in 2021 when so many things are still different than they were before. The ways we might have connected with others in the past are no longer viable options, and it can be hard to adjust your focus and see other ways of doing things in the midst of your own chaotic life. That's why we've put together these 3 easy ways to extend kindness throughout the coming year, no matter what it holds.
Choose Your Words Wisely
A kind word holds power, yet how often do we purposefully share them with those around us? Throughout the coming year, look for moments to interject a word of kindness or encouragement. Your waitress, your checkout attendant, your child's teacher, your lonely neighbor, the mom in your playgroup, or your own family members could all use uplifting reminders of how much they are appreciated. Remember, our words aren't just spoken. What we write (or share) online holds just as much power, and we can make (or break) someone's day with what we put out there for others to see. Choose wisely.
Support Your Local Businesses
This last year has been especially hard for local businesses, and many of them are headed into 2021 wondering how they'll keep going. Keep in mind, these shops, restaurants, and service-providers go far beyond just the owner. Their families, their employees (who also have families) and their many customers who depend on them also need them to stay afloat, and YOU can play a part in making that happen. Make it a resolution this year to shop local as much as possible. Instead of grabbing food from a drive-through window on the way home after a busy day, opt for takeout from a local dive instead. When it's time to buy teacher gifts, birthday presents, valentine surprises, or even household needs, keep our own downtown shops in mind first. When we pay them, we’re not only putting more money in the pocket of some wealthy international CEO...we’re paying for a child's soccer gear, daycare, college savings, or putting food on someone's table.
Perhaps this is one of the most impactful ways we can show kindness in the months ahead. Take action and be a part of making our community a better place. Volunteer with our local nonprofits who need help more than ever right now. Check on friends and neighbors, and be the one who shows up to deliver a load of groceries, get their mail, walk their dog, help with virtual learning, or simply bring a cup of coffee and a listening ear. Reach out to those who are hurting and offer, in addition to kindness, some hope and encouragement that they are seen and heard, and that you care. While words are important and matter in a big way, actions definitely speak the loudest, and our choice to show kindness with our own two hands could be the pivotal point for someone who needs a little extra help right now.
Jiles Law is committed to continuing our legacy of respect, committment and integrity with our clients and fellow law practices alike, but we are making a concentrated effort to add kindness into that in the months ahead. Both inside and outside of our office doors, we hope that we are thought of as being the ones who offer an encouraging word, a much-needed smile, or a bit of support when people need it most. We are proud to be part of the Winter Haven community and thankful for those we are privileged to call friends and neighbors here. Happy New Year from all of us at Jiles Law.