The winter holidays – Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa – are just around the corner, and while we’re all getting in the holiday spirit, it’s a perfect time to think about the ways to help create peace and unity in this world, which we could all use some more of right about now. Following are 10 easy things you can do to help create that peace and unity this holiday season, and, hopefully, all year through. In fact, it would be a great New Year’s resolution to practice some, or all of the following ideas, which is probably an easier resolution to keep than yet another vow to get to the gym more often.
- Help thy neighbor. You know that single mom working two jobs who lives in your building? Offer her your free babysitting services for a night, or offer to pick her up some groceries while you’re out shopping for your own. A little help can go a long way.
- Avoid subway drama. When someone pushes and shoves their way onto a crowded subway, and bumps into you in the process, resist the urge to tell them off and just ignore it. Like you, they are probably rushing off to work or school and although this can result in rude behavior, it’s not worth aggravating yourself and starting a fight.
- Lend a helping hand. Speaking of the subway, when you see an elderly or disabled person slowly making their way up or down the subway stairs while you and probably many others are rushing to get around them, lend a hand and help them make there way up or down those stairs.
- End the bullying. If you see someone being bullied, don’t turn your head and keep walking. Instead, try to be the voice of reason and help quash the situation. And, if it looks like a potentially dangerous situation that you don’t want to insert yourself into, call the proper authorities for help.
- Show compassion. Instead of throwing a nasty look or making a snide comment at the parent whose child is throwing a tantrum in a crowded store, offer them a friendly smile of encouragement and understanding.
- Open your mind to new ideas. Instead of arguing with someone who doesn’t share the same political, religious, etc beliefs as you, accept that not everyone has the same views, and that’s ok. Listen to the other person’s viewpoint, even if you don’t agree with it, and remember that our differences are what make us unique. In most cases, there isn’t one right way to do something, or one right thing to believe, so understanding another person’s way of thinking will give you a better appreciation and understanding of others, and the world as a whole.
- Let it go. Got beef with a coworker, friend or family member? Instead of letting the resentment fester, or talking behind that person’s back, talk it out with them. Don’t let little misunderstandings turn into big dramas.
- Foster a pet. So many loving pets are in need of a good home, and if you aren’t able to adopt one, consider fostering one. Fosters give animals the time and care they need so that they can be adopted into a loving home. My favorite NYC organization, Animal Care Centers of NYC, offers a great foster program that you can check out. If you don’t live in NY, find a local animal shelter in your area that offers a similar program.
- Give to others who are less fortunate. Instead of throwing out your old clothes or accessories, donate them to a local shelter or charitable organization that helps those in need. If you see a homeless person on the street, instead of ignoring them, purchase a $5 sandwich from a street vendor or nearby deli and give it to them. It may not seem like much to you, but it can make a real difference in someone else’s life.
- Whether it is at a local soup kitchen, senior citizen center, homeless shelter, pet shelter, school, etc, just volunteer your time. It can really brighten a person’s, or animal’s, day, and the good feelings you have afterwards are an added bonus.
Practice some of these tips and others, especially children, will learn from your good example. If everyone tries to create a little more peace and unity in this world, those good habits will be passed on to future generations and help create a more peaceful, unified future.