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Support Systems & Kindness


January 2018


 

Each new year inevitably brings some new goals along with it. Lots of people make resolutions, and some put deadlines to meet new goals. Whether we're chasing our dreams or just making some small improvements, there's something that can make it all easier: support systems. We're not talking about bridges or concrete foundations, but rather a dependable group of people who help us achieve our best. With a strong support system, difficult endeavors become easier. This is why we should strive to be a part of others' support systems.

Support Systems are Usually Reciprocal

When you're a dependable person who supports someone else's endeavors, the kindness is usually returned. Think about someone in your life who is always there for you when you need a hand. Now ask yourself, aren't you always there for them? You probably are! One of the easiest ways to grow our own support system is to be a strong part of someone else's. On top of that, it's a great way to experience someone else's interests ourselves. Do you have a friend that is passionate about something? That friend is probably able to talk endlessly about their passion and tell you all about it. This means you've got a great resource for trying out that activity or hobby yourself. You never know when you'll discover your inner passion for a new pursuit. For example, in helping your friend get ready for their violin recital, you might realize that you want to try learning an instrument too! And if you do, you'll already have someone to talk about musical instruments with!

We're very used to our teachers and parents being the ones to help us learn new skills, but lots of people in our lives can teach us new things. Our peers often make great mentors, and ignite the spark in us to follow our own newfound goals. Have you ever thought about how you could teach someone about your favorite hobby or pursuit? You probably have never realized just how much you could inspire another person to share your same passions. Because of how reciprocal they are, support systems are very powerful and beneficial to everyone involved.

How Do We Even Start?

If you're stuck wondering just how to become a stronger part of someone's support system, remember this: don't settle for "Good luck." It's often all too easy to simply wish someone good luck rather than be a part of their experience. It takes less time, less physical effort, and usually less driving. However, this is why being an active part of someone else's experience makes all the difference. Your extra effort and commitment are noticed beyond the sea of countless "good luck" comments or silent *thumbs up* icons. Remember the old, Golden Rule? Treat other people how you'd like to be treated. We often think about this in terms of not treating other people badly, but it applies equally to supporting others. Would you appreciate your friends' or family's presence, feedback, support, and celebration? Then make sure you're providing that to others too!

This month’s Random Act of Kindness challenge is: encourage 5 friends to do their best. And remember, “kind is the new cool.”

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Drawing Activity (pdf)