Thanksgiving is also a good time to think how you give back. You want to make a difference? It doesn’t require a huge time commitment, becoming a volunteer, spending vast amounts of effort on a good cause, or major educational degrees. Though seemingly simple — a genuine smile, little wave, or kind word to a stranger, neighbor, or to anyone is a meaningful way to live and expand FUN. 

Here are two examples about how this idea has inspired moments and continues to touch our lives. 

One person can make a difference.

Melinda: Starry, Starry Night 

I spent the summer in Cape Code where my husband and I have  a home. George the Groundhog lives there too, and you can read more about him, here. One of our last night’s before heading back to Florida, we were walking from the Barn (yes, it’s an actual 1803 barn!) to the house —and I randomly looked up. 

OMG. The sky! It was one of those midnight blue-dusted-with-glittery diamond-chips-in-the-sky kinda nights. 
How many of them had I missed over the summer? 

Perhaps in an attempt to make up for lost starry nights or for whatever reason, I stopped cold in my tracks, yelling at my husband and brother-in-law to come back and join me. Slightly irritated, they shuffled back.

Eagerly, I grabbed my husband’s hand, pointed up, and exclaimed: “Look!” In an instant, he and his brother became starstruck too!

Make a difference
What are the constellations we can see?

For the next 10-15 minutes we were like spellbound children, trying to identify constellations. But mostly we were just smiling and feeling uplifted. 

And, I thought to myself…one person can make a difference, one person can take the initiative and create a magical moment. 

The littlest things can turn into the most meaningful and FUN moments. BTW, this moment was free.

Mare: BEING kind is fun. 

When I was in my 20s, I worked as a personal trainer in Washington DC. One of my clients lived in a penthouse apartment with a building doorman, Mokie. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, Mokie would open the door, and enthusiastically greet me with a warm smile and kind word. 

Make a difference
“So glad to see you!”

Mokie made me feel as though opening the door for me on my way in and out was his greatest pleasure. What he didn’t know is that at the time, I needed his kindness. I was facing a personal crisis and putting one foot in front of the other was a struggle. Doing it with a smile on my face was nearly impossible. 

Random acts of kindness, especially from near-strangers like Mokie, showed me that I didn’t have to do or be anything special to receive kindness. Kindness is the way. It was only later — years later — that I realized the profoundness of his being and his influence in my life, then and now.

Before Mokie, I’d always TRIED to be a kinder person, someone who smiles at or opens the door for strangers. It’s fun because you get a payback, like a return smile or “thank you.” 

But after Mokie (and some healing), I BECAME a kinder person. He taught me that reciprocal kindness, whether the receiver responds in like, isn’t a marker for success. You may never know how your smile, wave, or fun energy inevitably makes a difference, in the moment or grander scheme.

In honor of Mokie, I say it doesn’t matter, because simply being kind is fun.

Making a difference is fun. What’s your “one person can make a difference” story? 

You are never too old to see the stars in your life . . .

M & M ✨