If you have been in Juneau a few years, you may remember “The Year of Kindness” initiative that the Juneau Police Department instigated. Individuals and groups were tasked to go out of their way to be kind, to make the year of 2017 a year of kindness.
Stories were shared each day on local media outlets about kind deeds in our community. Kindness was shown to others in everyday ways as well as extraordinary ways. Lost wallets were found and turned in. Inspirational sticky notes put on student lockers. Good Samaritans helped change a tire. Coffee was bought for the person behind us next in line. Hands were shook. Smiles shared. Snow was shoveled for unexpecting neighbors. Cookies were shared. Food donated. Tasks completed. The list was endless. We saw a positive change in our community, which was the goal of the initiative.
Kindnesses still happened in 2018 and are happening now in 2019. I think 2017 was a bit different though. We talked a LOT in our community about kindness. It made kindness the thing to do and was prevalent in the minds of Juneau citizens. Youth groups, adult clubs, individuals and business all made extra efforts to show kindness. We celebrated kindnesses and we were more aware of kindness, looking for even more ways to be kind. Juneau ROCKS took over the year of kindness for 2018, and we are still working as a community to be more kind in 2019.
As you may have heard, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a Christmas initiative each year. The past few years it has been titled, “Light the World.” Each day of December there are suggestions available on a calendar for how we can light a small corner, or a large corner of world with a light of kindness and love. For 2019 the church is adding the hashtag #sharegoodness.
Christmas now, when it is only June?! Is it too early in the year before Christmas? We tend to be hyper aware of kindness and act more kind during the holiday season in December. But shouldn’t we be kind all year? Even in June, July and August.
Jesus Christ and His gospel are our ultimate example of kindness. He led and taught a lifetime of kindness, not just a year or a season. I am reminded of several scriptures that remind us of the teachings of Jesus and his disciples. In the New Testament: John 13: 34, 35 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
In the Old Testament: Ruth showed love and goodness to her mother in law. In the Book of Mormon; Another Testament of Jesus Christ: Mosiah 2:17, the prophet Mosiah taught “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” Another scripture in the New Testament, Thessalonians 4:9, teaches us, “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.”
Let’s start a season of #sharegoodness now. Let’s start in June. How will you share goodness? Smile at a neighbor. Wave to a stranger. Hold open a door. Send a note. Buy a tea for the person in line behind you. Assist an elderly friend. Be understanding of others. Take dinner to a sick friend. Give a hug. Share time with a family member. Read a book to a child. Let a youth know you care.
Let’s open our eyes and our hearts and #sharegoodness in not only new ways, but in everyday ways. Let’s #sharegoodness and show kindness everyday. Juneau is an amazing place. We each have a lot of good to share and a light to shine!
• Donna Leigh is member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She enjoys serving in the church and community, hiking, running, reading and spending time with her family, including their golden retriever. “Living Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.