The Hands of Love Challenge - Part II
Freedom Speaks Column
Last week we put out the "Hands of Love" challenge. This is a kindness challenge; this is a love challenge – love for our fellowmen. This is a challenge to all patriots to lift our country higher. This is a challenge to all those who love God to also show love to others.
I have borrowed the term "Hands of Love" from Eversley Colaire who is the current president of the Men's Ministry at the church that I attend. While I am glad to be associated with the men of that ministry, I recognize that there is great need for various segments of our community to get involved in reigniting love and togetherness in our nation. Groups of friends could come together to show kindness to others; community groups can pursue efforts to revive community spirit; churches can redouble their outreach to those in need of a hand and comfort; workers at places of business can band together to engage in acts of kindness; families can look out for the well-being of others; neighbours can help neighbours; and individuals can certainly act by themselves to make the lives of others more fulfilled. You see, you will be rewarded for your kindness and the scripture is clear on that. But various sociology studies also show that helping others can benefit the mental health and wellbeing of those extending the help. For example, it can reduce stress, improve mood, self-esteem and happiness.
I would like to suggest, some guiding principles as we embark on this challenge. First, let us do this from the perspective of compassion rather than from a political perspective. When we bind together to help others, let us not let political party affiliations be a consideration in terms of who we work with or who is to be helped. As a matter of fact, this can be an opportunity to heal our communities and the nation in general from political factures. Never-mind if some doubt your motive. If you know that you are genuine, just proceed with those that are willing and in time others will be convinced and participate as spirit of love takes hold.
Secondly, there are various ways that we can be kind and helpful and we will share some examples and suggestions in the next article, but where helping others may involve physical interactions, let us be conscious of the need to follow good practices in relation to preventing or controlling the spread of COVID-19.
Thirdly, ensure that those that are being helped are comfortable in receiving the help. Do not make them feel embarrassed in any way. Let us not make them feel less than we are. Let us do everything to protect the dignity of those we will help. Ask yourself the question - if I were in the person's position, how would I like to be treated? Don't make the person feel like a "charity case". Instead, make them feel loved and appreciated.
Fourthly, share your experience as a means of encouraging others to get involved. Share your stories with your family, friends and neighbours; give a testimony at your church or share your stories with the priest and pastors so that they can speak of the works of kindness that is being done in communities and in the nation; and call the talk shows on Q95, Kairi FM and DBS radio to share your stories of kindness or share articles or post comments on DNO, the Sun newspaper, other newspapers or media outlets. When you share your stories, be conscious of the need to protect the dignity of those that will be helped; but let us change the atmosphere in our land by rebuilding neighbourliness and brotherly love.
Fifthly, helping others may require some sacrifice, but do not overextend yourself or neglect your family. It must be about extending love to others and sharing with them whatever we have as families and in that regard, our families must be pleased by efforts to reach out to others. Let not our efforts to reach out to others become a source of contention within our families.
Sixthly, sometime little things count. Even if you may not have anything significant to share or even if you don't have a lot of time, there are some little things you can do – say hello or good morning, make eye contact and smile to someone who appears to be discouraged or depressed or just appears to be just a little too serious; offer to help someone to carry a bag or to meet an immediate physical challenge; extend road courtesy; or invite someone to your home to have lunch – someone that is not already a close friend.
Certainly, we can make a difference in our nation through our kindness. We all want to live in a county that we cherish but each one of us has a responsibility to contribute to that through our kindness. We will continue with the discussion in next week's article.
Kent Vital Political Leader Dominica Freedom Party.