The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

December 25, 2012

Real change must begin with each of us


DANVILLE — ‘Peace on Earth” becomes a popular phrase this time of the year. Certainly it’s a goal we all strive to achieve. Yet in the wake of tragic incidents such as the one in Newtown, Conn., peace becomes difficult to imagine.

Today celebrates Christmas, the day Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. His life was spent try to bring peace to others, not through massive changes initiated by governments, but by the actions of individuals.

In the aftermath of the Newtown shooting that took 26 lives, including those of 20 students, many comments on social media have tried to help others cope with this tragedy and how it reflects upon our society as a whole.

One of the more common themes revolves around what individuals can do to foster change.

Want more kindness in the world?

Make a conscious effort to be more kind to others. Reach out to those in need. Comfort those in pain. Turn that other cheek toward the rude, the ill mannered, the callous, the greedy and the ugly.

Want more peace in the world?

Temper our own anger, especially regarding frivolous issues. Take a moment — and a deep breath — before responding to a provocation. Try to see the bigger picture, and not just the one where we are the main focus.

Want to see more generosity around you?

Be more generous to others. That doesn’t mean giving just money. It can mean sharing your knowledge or, more important, your time. There are many people who need nothing more than a sympathetic ear. Find the need that fits what you can give. Both the giver and the recipient benefit.

Be the change you want to see in the world. That’s become a popular sentiment of late, but it still stands as a true path to making this planet a better place. We see too much anger, too much hate these days.

On this day, of all days, we should pledge to do what we can to bring more kindness.

Merry Christmas, everyone.