You can make a difference in the new year

Published 3:01 pm Thursday, December 30, 2021

It’s that time of year when we are remembering the old, and ringing in the new. It’s also that time of year when many of us set goals for ourselves in the form of New Year’s resolutions.
According to the History Channel, the origin of making New Year’s resolutions rests with the Babylonians, who reportedly made promises to the gods in hopes they’d earn good favor in the coming year.
Making New Year’s resolutions also provides some psychological mindset to make changes that will be of benefit in the future.
This last year has felt like an extension of 2020 — a “groundhog” year — as we’ve continued to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.
The year started with a bang — literally — when supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump stormed the Capital on Jan. 6. 2021 also brought hope when the highly anticipated COVID-19 vaccine became widely available.
We’ve had ups and downs. Some loosening of pandemic restrictions along with COVID variants that are difficult to pronounce. But we made it through. Some didn’t.
So what can we do to make next year better? We think the simplest answer is this: be kind.
Kindness and compassion are something we can all agree that the world needs more of. And while the outlook for 2022 is up in the air and many factors are out of our control, one thing we can do is offer up kindness and compassion to our neighbors.
These acts of kindness could be big like large donations and hours spent volunteering, or small signs of hope like helping a neighbor shovel their driveway, or holding open a door. It could also be as simple as buying someone’s lunch.
There is so much division in the world. It’s everywhere — in government, politics, families, and even churches. Why can’t we get along?
In August 1988 when President George H.W. Bush received his party’s nomination, in his acceptance speech, he called for a “kinder, gentler nation.” His administration was — while certainly not scandal free — arguably the last to have seen genuine civility and bipartisanship in Washington.
Then, came Donald Trump a few years later, who had a crude, gloves-off attitude of governing. And, kindness and gentleness were kicked to the sidelines.
We can begin by stop looking at the color of people. Instead, look at their heart, their dreams. We are all people, who have a dream, a hope of living and working in a free nation.
In 2022 we must double down on those two words — kinder, gentler. We must teach our children the meaning of these two words by living them. Again, we must let the words of George H.W. Bush challenge us to put nation over politics and people over party.
You don’t have to be president to have an impact. In everything we do, we can have an impact on someone else. In fact, if we do as Bush did and “tell the truth, be strong, do our best and forgive, it will have an impact on someone with whom we come in contact.”
While we can’t guarantee that 2022 will be better than this year (or the last), we can all make an effort to make the world a little bit better of a place to be. We can do that by being kinder to each other.

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