Small acts of kindness improve quality of life

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 20, 2007

This Thanksgiving people across the country will gather with friends and family, watch hours of parades and football and enjoy feasts of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.

These are things we all look forward to this time of year and an important part of the holiday’s tradition. But, the true meaning of Thanksgiving can be seen everyday in the small acts of kindness between strangers, the charitable work of volunteers, and the generosity between neighbors, family and friends. In many ways, Thanksgiving represents the spirit and ideals we should all strive to achieve everyday of our lives.

In the book of Psalms, it says to “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His court with praise.”

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This scripture is an important reminder that we must not only give of ourselves, but thank all those who give to us. When I first ran for public office, my party chairman told me that if someone offered me a glass of water while walking door-to-door, I should accept it and be thankful. Through that experience on the campaign trail, I learned to gratefully accept the things that are given to me and pass along this kindness to others. Part of being thankful is the willingness to acknowledge that we need help or recognize that someone has helped us.

Of course, Thanksgiving is also about giving to others. When I sat down to think about the importance of giving, several stories came to mind — personal experiences that have had a strong impact on my growth as a person and how I treat others.

Thanksgiving has always been an important American tradition, a symbol of our country’s ideals and a valuable opportunity to spend time with friends and family, thank God for all that we have been given and remember the people who have impacted our lives in a positive way.

I am so thankful for the life I have been given and for the people who have helped and encouraged me along the way. We always hear about the big events in our history that have made this country great, but it is the small acts of kindness, caring and generosity between family, friends, neighbors and strangers that improve people’s lives, better our communities, and in turn, strengthen the foundation of this state and our country.

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

John A. Carey is a member of the Ohio Senate and represents the 17th District.