The Holiday Challenge

x-mas tree lights

The holidays are upon us again! It’s that time of year when everyone is supposed to be concentrating on being nice to one another, you know, good will, and all. It seems to me that the closer we get to the holidays the more stressed people become, and I understand. We all have so much going on, and WAY too much on our plates. It’s easy to look around and point the finger at everyone else and see what everyone else is neglecting, deflecting the reflection away from ourselves.

It’s also easy to judge who we think deserves good fortune. We might look at a man on a street corner for instance holding a sign asking to work for food, and decide he has done something to deserve unemployment, when the truth is we have no idea what has happened to him. It isn’t our place to judge him. Even if the man were to spit on out tire as we drove by, it still would not be our place to judge him, but that is an entirely different post altogether. Another example. It is easy to be nice to someone who deserves it. That’s a given. Everyone smiles at the sweet little girl in the red dress, twirling around in the front of the room. But what about the man who is screaming at the cashier? Everyone behind him lines up, ready to pounce. He shouts at the grocery store employee, slams his fist onto the counter and shuffles toward the front of the store. You have a choice. You could do nothing and ignore the entire interaction, you could go after him and yell or you could offer him kindness. Your initial reaction might be that he does not deserve kindness after the way he treated the cashier, but what if I revealed that two days prior to screaming at the cashier his beloved of thirty years passed away and this was to be his very first Thanksgiving without her? The point is that we all have moments, I know that I do, when we don’t deserve kindness, but we NEED it. We LONG for it. The Holidays are difficult for many people. They are stressful, lonely, and what we are supposed to do is love one another. We are supposed to show one another compassion, tolerance, patience, and kindness.

My challenge to you is to show compassion, tolerance, patience, and kindness to the people who DON’T deserve it. Whether they are strangers who cross your path briefly or family members who push every button and make you want to strangle them, I want you to really try. Those are the people who need it, not the happy, shiny people twirling in the sunshine. Smile at the toothless guy on the corner not the lady at Target buying drapes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Trish Eklund is taking a nontraditional approach to parenting children after divorce and remarriage. Raising her two daughters of ten and fourteen with her husband, ex-husband, and his wife, they consult one another on all parenting decisions. Trish has been featured on, and She is a regular writer on, writer and co-editor for Her View From Omaha. Follow her on Twitter: @trishiewriter, Google +, and Pinterest.


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