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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Our Actions

"Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind."
~Theodore Roosevelt

Actions most definitely speak louder than words.

The other day I was at the grocery store and there was a sweet old man working as the cashier and another sweet old man working as the bagger.  The lady in front of me was obviously in a hurry as she stood tapping her foot and her credit card on the counter while the man slowly rang up her groceries.  I watched the man smile at her a few times to which she responded with an eye roll or a not so quiet sigh of annoyance.  When her receipt printed out he was scanning it to tell her how much she saved and I watched as she reached over the counter and held out her hand doing a "gimme, gimme, gimme" motion practically ripping the receipt from his hand.  In fact, I fully expected her to throw her purse on the ground, stomp her high heels on the tile floor and throw a tantrum right then and there just like my toddler does. 

My heart just broke for this old man.  I have seen him at this store several times.  And while there is always a line at his register he gives each customer his time and a smile.  You can see that what makes his day is making others' days.  After giving him an extra smile I wanted to run after that horrible woman and reprimand her just like I would my two year old.  Maybe she had a bad morning.  Maybe she was in a huge hurry to get to work.  Whatever the reason I wonder if she realized how her actions affected that man. 

Our actions really do define us.  And unfortunately sometimes people only have to see one bad action from us to judge us.  That may not be fair but it's truth.

This woman and this sweet old man both reminded me how important my actions are, every day.  My actions toward my husband can either tear him down or build him up.  My actions toward my children can either make them feel like a nuisance or worthy of my time.  We often think twice about how we act towards those we love but what about how we act toward strangers?  I can choose to take my negative feelings and emotions out on strangers causing them to feel belittled or devalued.  Or I could choose to act kind and have patience towards strangers with the hope that it would fill them with joy and give them the desire to pass that on to someone else.


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