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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Caring Counts

My dad's favorite movie was "The Hustler", starring Paul Newman as Fast Eddie Felson, Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats and Piper Laurie as Sarah, Eddie's girlfriend.  About a year ago, I recorded this movie as it played on AMC and every now and then I watch it, hoping to gain some undiscovered insight into my father.

The last time I watched it, the scene in which Eddie (Newman) is leaving Sarah (Laurie) struck home. Sarah asks Eddie "is that your idea of love?'  Eddie answers, "I got no idea of love."  And a conversation I had with my dad years ago floated back to me.

Dad once told me that if he had had someone in his life when he was growing up who had “given a damn” for him, maybe he would have been a different person. His mother died when he was ten and he felt that his father was too busy or preoccupied to care about him.  He "raised himself", as he would say, eating "bananas and candy" for meals.

Caring matters.  I am sure all of us can point to a time in our lives when someone made a difference with a kind word, a phone call, or a visit.  Did you know that when one of your co-workers or friends is out sick or in an extended leave that they begin to feel isolated and alone.  Behavioral studies have found that a simple card, sent by a co-worker or a friend will cause that person to return to work, or church, or to a group sooner than the person who is not sent a card?

In my office, I have the Ten Commandments of Human Relations hanging on my bulletin board.  I do not know who wrote them to give that person credit, but I would like to list them here.  They are interesting to read, and more interesting to think that we have to be reminded to do them:

1.       Speak to people.  There is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting.

2.      Smile at people.

3.      Call people by name.  The sweetest music to anyone’s ear is the sound of their name.

4.         Be friendly and helpful.

5.      Be cordial.  Speak and act as if everything you did were a genuine pleasure.

6.      Show interest in people.  You can learn to like most people if you try.

7.      Be generous with praise and cautious with criticism.

8.      Be considerate with the feelings of others.  It will be appreciated.

9.      Be thoughtful of the opinions of others.  There are three sides to a controversy; yours, the other person’s and the right one.

10.  Be alert to give service.  What counts most in life is what we do for others.

These may seem simplistic.  But every day I talk to people who feel alone, deserted and under stress.  Many of their burdens would be lessened if they knew someone “gave a damn” about them.

Will you be that someone?

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