I was on the transit several months ago, I want to say it was around the holidays. I had my Ipod listening to one of my playlists which was R&B. The song “Little Things” by India Arie came on (I forgot I put it on there). And while she is extremely talented and I loved the beat and rhythmic nuances of the song, the lyrics hit me. And it got me thinking, what are some of the little things in life we can do for each other, whether you’re in a relationship or not?
Greet someone, anyone
This goes a long way believe it or not. It’s an everyday occurrence to see how many people pass each other on the street and not even give a head nod or good morning. We’re not children anymore, so it’s okay to say hello to strangers.
I have traveled down south quite a few times and not only is it customary to greet and be greeted, but should you enter a place of service you will see the [southern] hospitality is unbelievable. And they’re not just towing the ‘company line’, it is genuine and sincere.
Nevertheless a simple “good morning/afternoon/evening” is totally harmless. If you come across a group of men standing somewhere even if they appear to be the most hardened from the street life you could say something as easy as, “How are you brothers doing today?”
As a whole people in society don’t greet each other nearly as much as they should. And even if the person ignores you, maybe it’s because they were caught off guard because they’re not used to it.
Offer your seat
If you’re riding public transportation and if you see someone who’s elderly, with children or a stroller or with bags, do the right thing: stand up. And while it’s supposed to be common place, it’s amazing to see how many people don’t do this. I have witnessed on a few occasions a bus driver having to ask a young man to give up his seat for an older lady with a cane. Now understand you don’t HAVE to; it’s not a right or a law but it’s pretty damn courteous and people should do it more often.
Have meals with your children
It’s sad enough that there are a lot of broken families, especially within the Black community. Many children out there have to grow up without a father, and sometimes without a mother so they’re being raised by extended families. And some even have to suffer living in a residential or a foster home (although what’s more surprising but unfortunate some foster families treat them better). That being said, it’s imperative to have meals with your children. It may not sound important but it encourages dialogue and more importantly creates a chance for bonding and conversation.
I understand sometimes you’re too tired or may not be hungry but even being in the vicinity, like washing dishes or doing some straightening of the kitchen while they’re eating is just as vital to establish a presence. Letting your child eat in his room with the TV keeping them company will be a detriment to their growth and social acumen in the long run.
Say,”I Love You”
I’ve been to one funeral too many where people are looking over the deceased and saying, “I love you” when they’re being laid to rest. Wash, rinse, repeat. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that but how many people take the time out of their day to say it when that person is still alive? And I won’t lie, I’m guilty of this too (not so much with the funeral part).
Sometimes we all lose sight of things like this to tell someone you love them or in the case of your husband, wife , or s/o how MUCH you love them. Imagine you’re at work and you get a text from your sweetheart: “Just wanted to let you know I love you” I’m sure that would make your day.
All in all it’s something that shouldn’t be taken for granted in the least.
Offer or even give someone money if they’re short on change
Now before you sneer and say, “Oh hell no!”, I don’t mean make it rain in the store. Some change even giving a dollar or two would suffice.
A few weeks ago I was in the gas station and there was a child in front of me, he looked no older than early teens. He was purchasing some junk food (I had to say it…he was) and he was .50 short. He dug in his pockets desperately trying to find change and he couldn’t. So as a look of helplessness came over his face as he was about to take back some of his things, I gave him the 50 cents he needed. He turned to me and said, “Thank you”, gathered his goodies and left. I must admit, I actually felt good about doing this. I’m not saying to do this as a common practice, but something came over me and I remember having that same feeling as a young lad and having to put things back because I was short with money.
While you’re at it giving a homeless man or someone living on skid row some change in a cup won’t hurt either. Although some may actually turn around and take that trip to the liquor store (which is a shame) but there actually is a “Mr.Wendal” or two out there that may need it more than you think.
Hold a door
Doing this small task (if you want to call it that), whether it’s for a man OR woman is not only something small, but it’s just plain courteous. This would be especially helpful of the person’s hands were full. However, as the image shows, you don’t do it if the person is a mile away, unless you know them.
So OM readers what are some other things you can add (or maybe subtract from) to this list? What are some ‘little’ things you have done to someone or to people that have made their day? What are some things other people have done for you that have made your day?
Peace and Love
Updated on 01/15/19, Post originally entitled, “It’s the Little Things: 6 Ways Embracing a Lil’ Humanity can Improve Your Life”