In my last post I told the story of how Angela Maiers told me that I matter. Angela’s “You Matter” campaign is catching on and people are encouraging each other to tell people that they matter.
My mother and father taught me that while words can have tremendous power and volume, actions speak louder than words. It is one thing to tell people they matter and a wholly different thing to show people they matter.
Today I had the privilege to help serve food to some people who needed it and realized they are many, many ways to show others that they matter.
Every Sunday one of the local churches serves dinner to anyone who needs it. Tonight we served about three dozen people spiral ham, collard greens, sweet potato and mixed vegetables. We served juice, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and soda. The excellent local French bakery donates desert every week and this time it was delicious chocolate cupcakes with butter-cream swirl icing and Halloween themed sugar cookies. We had plenty of food and everyone got as much as they wanted.
Lots of churches, synagogues, mosques and community groups also serve meals to those in need, and all of it tells people that they matter. Excellent, but this group goes a little further.
This church enlists volunteers from other churches and other religions to participate in providing table service, cut flowers on every clothed table, all signs that our customers, and that’s what we call them, matter.
All that is very nice, but what really makes this a good experience, a mattering experience for volunteer and customer, is conversation. We talk to each other, we listen to each other. We try to get to know the people we work with and the people we serve.
They are not mouths, they are people. Complex people. People who are, and want to be acknowledged, as being more than needy. They are, and want to be acknowledged, as being part of our community. And that is what we try very hard to do.
And it feels good.
All that is great.
But tonight I had an insight. I had a realization. Not earth shattering, not transformative, but an insight nonetheless.
What I realized is that by telling and showing people that they matter, I come to matter to them.
That is why doing good feels so good; because showing someone else that they matter reaffirms that I matter. The more I can show people they matter the more I matter and the more I matter the more I can show people they matter.
Apparently that ham wasn’t the only thing spiraling tonight.
- Social Media saving lives – two words at the time (jureklepic.com)
- These Two Words Can Change Your Life (tracyconstantine.wordpress.com)
- Innovative Teachers-Share Your Genius by Eric Williams, Superintendent (coolcatteacher.blogspot.com)