Since we are in the middle of a heat wave, I figure now would be a great time to talk about warmth. Not in the literal climate sense, however bringing warmth to people you touch in your lives. Look back at your childhood and remember the warm moments your friends and family gave to you. Have you passed these times on to your own circle of friends and family? Or have you created new traditions to make people feel important?
My mother made mornings very special growing up by greeting us with a wide smile and a loud “Good Morning!” so that we would face the day with anticipation. She took the time to ask about what we were learning in school, and if she wasn’t sure about the subject matter she would open our World Book encyclopedias to see if she could get up to speed on the subject. We received this same greeting when we returned home from school or work as teenagers. Her warmth extended to the chicken noodle soup she would make when we were sick, or the detailed cakes she would make for our birthdays.
When my youngest daughter first came into our house, we started a tradition of 12 hugs for nuturing. I’ve read studies that physicians believe the average person needs 12 hugs a day to feel loved and appreciated in the world. Since my daughter struggled to get her needs met when she was younger, I would often give her twice the dose to start, but we continue with 12 hugs a day for both our children to let them know how special and important they are. I plug in to their love languages as well (Gary Chapman books) and realize that each child has a different way of knowing they are loved. They return the warmth in their acts of kindness, their gratitude, their gift giving skills and generosity.
I’ve brought warmth to others when they are struggling to find change at a vending machine and I just instantly pull out the money to help pay for an item. I’ve paid for tolls for the person behind me on the highway. I’ve helped carry laundry down our apartment stairs or groceries when I know a person doesn’t want to make two or three trips up and down the stairs. I do it with no expectation of reciprocity. Acts of kindness fill me with warmth, and I enjoy the positive expressions on other people’s faces when I help them- that’s fufilling enough.
You want to change your mood? Go visit people in a homeless shelter, a burn ward of a hospital, an animal shelter- places where people are just thankful to be alive for another day. Suddenly whatever problems or issues you may be facing minimize when you take yourself out of the equation to look into another person’s world. Read inspirational material from Norman Vincent Peale, Les Brown, John Maxwell, Paul J. Meyer, Joyce Meyer, or any of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.
I remember the warmth of my small town- pulling together for community events, Friday night football games, the pep rallies and bonfires, raising funds for whatever we needed to help our town prosper. In today’s hustle and bustle lifestyle, take the time to warm up someone else’s life- be it your co-worker, your boss, your best friend, a long lost relative, your son or daughter, your partner in a relationship. You don’t have to spend any money, it doesn’t have to be a large investment of time. The smallest attention to detail can warm up the soul forever.
We all need a daily jolt of warmth to make it through every day, every season, in every world.