The Monterey County Herald ran an op/ed piece on July 4th suggesting "We sure could use 'Love Your Neighbor Day'". We agreed - and told them so. It seems they thought their readers should know, so they ran our response today as "Let the caring begin" (reprinted below). How will you care for others today? Let us know! WE care!
LET THE CARING BEGIN
How wonderful that The Herald’s View on Monday identified a need to establish a regular reminder that there is enormous value in even the smallest act of kindness – those acts that create caring communities! Not so very long ago, right here in Monterey, just such a day was established.
“Dare to Care Day”, organized by Community of Caring Monterey Peninsula, challenges students in local “Community of Caring” schools to engage with their families and neighbors in random acts of caring. Over the years, The Herald has provided coverage of those activities!
When it was established, organizers agreed the event should tie to a day that already had name recognition. For marketing reasons, they declared Earth Day in April as the date for an annual celebration of “Dare to Care Day”. What better way to show we care than to care for our planet, right? True, but as suggested in The Herald’s View, caring for each other has enormous value, too.
Intentional acts of caring for others included activities like delivering flowers to a neighbor, helping someone cross a street, carrying groceries – even holding open a door. Small steps up from basic good manners and simple ways of respecting each other.
But what about other national days that (celebrate caring acts? “Pay It Forward Day” is in April, too.
Can’t wait until Spring to be the change you want to see in your world? “Make a Difference Day” in October, an event publicized by USA Today Weekend, has inspired award-winning local projects.
“World Kindness Day” is celebrated November 13th while “Universal Children’s Day” is celebrated November 20th, as proclaimed by the United Nations in 1954.
Rather celebrate for a week? “Random Acts of Kindness” suggests you do just that in February!
Ideas this big can’t be contained in a day, a week or even one part of the country. Check out “Pass It On” and discover a movement circling the globe!
All these celebrations offer opportunities and ideas for folks of all ages to put into practice the simple lessons learned in kindergarten. What better way for adults to be consistently better role models for the children in our communities!
But children are citizens of our communities now, not just in the future. By remembering to direct kindness at them, too, we are building assets that will be rewarded with the best possible return on investment: “Champions” who continue to build a legacy of caring.
Great ideas bear repeating and new habits take practice. Every day is full of opportunities to “Love Your Neighbor” in innumerable small ways. The ideas of pancake breakfasts, block parties and holding hands with strangers on the beach should not be overlooked. And the elimination of talk radio and a positive focus in media are both extremely enticing! Since a journey starts with a single step, check out www.communityofcaringmp.org and take a moment to think about how you’ll care for others today – and every day.
Since it is The Herald’s View that there is a need to establish a day when we celebrate each other, perhaps you’ll partner in promoting this worthwhile movement by setting off a few fireworks of brotherhood. Let the celebrations begin!
By Kathi Speller, Executive Director