I love a grand gesture. When I see videos of elaborate marriage proposals or clever invitations to the prom, I marvel at the creativity and effort put forth. And don’t even get me started on gender reveal parties or showy flash mobs! I am completely in awe.
That being said, I’m actually more impressed by the little things. Small but noticeable gestures are what make my heart beat a little faster, regardless of where they’re directed. Little things can be romantic, thoughtful, and/or considerate. Sending a handwritten thank you note in the mail, or simply holding the door open for someone who’s entering the store behind you can make a difference in someone else’s day.
Little things can also have a ripple effect in ways we cannot even fathom. What I know for sure is that the world doesn’t revolve around me, or around you for that matter, and despite that reality, we each may have the ability to change another person’s life, often by virtue of our mere existence. The work I do as a mediator is a perfect example of the ripple effect. If I help a divorced couple to revisit their coparenting arrangement, my interaction with them will certainly affect their children. And if I help business partners to dissolve their company with less angst and more respect, they will likely move forward to other endeavors with renewed motivation and ambition.
Obviously, we each need to provide our own definition for the concept of “little things” and that involves our own perspective. Because I like to cook and don’t like leftovers, I often have a stockpile of soup in my freezer. Dropping off a container to a friend when she’s not feeling well is no big deal to me. I do it all the time. Once, though, I delivered some split pea soup to a friend who was feeling like nobody cared. She told me later that my gesture helped her climb out of depression. My perspective was merely that I had extra soup to share. I had no idea what I did had such an impact!
Another friend, a single mom of two toddlers, told me about a time when she was flying with the little ones from Las Vegas to Dallas. She struggled throughout the entire flight to keep the kids quiet, fed, and occupied, all the while being overly concerned about the passengers around her. When they landed and were exiting the plane, the man sitting directly in front of her three-year-old turned around and complimented my friend on what a good mom she was. That was the last thing my friend was expecting to hear, and she told me it validated her as a mother.
I’ve never had the lofty goal of saving the world, and I can say with 100% certainty that I don’t personally know anyone who’s that capable. Nevertheless, we all have the ability to do the little things. And those can be almost as impactful.