I remember my mother once quoting a nun that she greatly admired, a woman called Sister Emmanuel who worked tirelessly to help the poor in Egypt. This woman was known for saying that what she did was just a drop of water in a huge ocean, but that if she didn’t do what she did that drop of water would be missing from the ocean.
I don’t know if Sister Emmanuel was the first person to say that, but the words resonated with me and have always stayed in my heart.
When I look at my kids and wonder if what I do every day really matters in the grand scheme of things, I remind myself that what I do matters to them.
When I smile at a person who looks frustrated in their car and I see a smile bloom in response, I know that it doesn’t matter in the larger scope of our lives, but it matters right then and there.
All the little things we do might not matter five days, five months, or five years down the road. But they matter right then and there. They might not matter to people in Asia or people in Hawaii, but they matter to the people you’re interacting with right now.
When you remember all that it changes the way you act and the way you think. It boosts your self esteem and your self confidence. You matter. You’re important. What you do every day matters, is important.
Now, since everything you do matters and is important you could just keep doing what you always do and feel proud. Or you could decide to take that power you wield a step further.
Those tiny things you do every day can affect more than the people in your immediate environment. A tiny gesture can reach a soldier in Iraq, a sick child in Chicago, or a single mom in Atlanta. It’s up to you.
Debbie Tenzer knows that sometimes all you need is some inspiration to figure out where to direct your good intentions. Her book Do One Nice Thing is a collection of suggestions for tiny, nice things you can do in your community or around the world. Pick it up, or check out her website, DoOneNiceThing.com, if you want to spread some goodwill.
And if you’re not ready? Don’t worry. That smile you gave to the barista this morning totally counts.
This post was inspired by this month’s Silicon Valley Moms Blog book club. On September 29th other bloggers will also be writing about how Do One Nice Thing inspired them. Visit Silicon Valley Moms Blog that morning to see the links to all those posts.