by Jackie Pinkowitz
CCAL – Advancing Person-centered Living
As November’s chill fills the air and autumn leaves begin to fall, our hearts and minds naturally turn to thoughts of Thanksgiving, a holiday that invokes coming together with kindness and caring towards one another.
The Picker Institute describes their Always Events® as “… aspects of the patient (person) and family experience that should always occur when patients (individuals) interact with health care professionals and the delivery system.”
Imagine the profound difference we could make across our country if each of us would always show kindness and caring to those we care about and for; i.e., if we made Kindness and Caring A Nationwide Always Event® and applied them consistently, both in our personal lives and in our roles as informal or formal care partners, family members, professionals, providers, and policymakers.
Elton John and Tim Rice’s thought-provoking song “Circle of Life” fittingly describes man’s eternal challenge:
“From the day we arrive on this planet…there’s more to see than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done.” We must “…find our place on the path unwinding in the circle, the circle of life.”
As we continue to find our place on that path, may we come to realize that what we do and say each day has greater impact, greater reach, and far greater importance than we might ever imagine as we are doing or saying it. Poet James W. Foley (1874-1939) beautifully evokes the effects our words can have on others:
“Drop a word of cheer and kindness; just a flash and it is gone; But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on, Bearing hope and joy and comfort on each splashing, dashing wave; Til you wouldn’t believe the volume of the one kind word you gave.”
“Drop A Pebble in the Water”
Indeed, Mother Theresa acknowledged the magnitude of this impact when she said:
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
In this season of gratitude, may each one of us aspire to creating a national culture of caring, respect, and kindness that will promote person-centered care, services, supports and meaningful living for all.
“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them and try to follow where they lead.” Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)