Small, positive acts reap big rewards

As my Christmas/Holiday/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus inspiration to all, I borrow from John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s song “Happy Xmas (War is Over)”: “So this is Christmas and what have you done.”

I ask this of you as I ask myself each day. What have we done to create peace in our community and beyond? We don’t need to travel to another continent. For a starter, we need look no further than our own family. Do shrill cries echo through our halls with regularity, or does serenity reign?

By speaking with thoughtfulness and compassion to those around us and taking a moment to reflect before the words tumble from our mouths, we encourage peace and respect that can develop in ways we may never know. It’s the beginning of spreading peace on Earth and goodwill to all right from Boulder City.

There are times when our kindness doesn’t work with our loved ones and those we see daily, but we’ve got to make the effort toward it. Difficult? Of course. Impossible? No! The persistence, the trying, the giving it one more shot pays off when we least expect it with outcomes we can’t imagine and may never know.

Sure, we’re disappointed with our kids and relatives, and we’re not jumping up and down with glee about the neighbors, our co-workers and the boss, but let’s give hope a fair shake. Give it a chance. Nothing stays the same forever. Today is disappointing, but tomorrow could bring something we least expect.

Don’t dwell on the regrets or bury yourself in frustration. Confront the distress and disappointment. Shake it. Kick it. Let it know who is the boss. We face a fierce adversary, but the more you push, the weaker all that pessimism becomes. Now there is room for hope and confidence. Remember, this too shall pass.

What have we done this year to encourage peace, happiness and a better world? If we stopped for a second before yelling at someone, anyone, we’re moving in the correct direction. If we gave some of our time toward helping someone who needed it, we’ve made our corner of the planet a little better. If we used some money to help those who need it most instead of spending it on stuff that will end up in the storage space, some folks will be a bit more comfortable.

I came across a calendar the other day that listed considerate things we could do for one another, not just this time of year but all year long, maybe even daily. Each act was simple — most were free — yet could be just what the beneficiary needed at that moment.

Here are a few examples: Let someone in front of you in line; smile and thank someone who serves you; give a friend or loved one your full attention; hold the door open for someone; give someone a hug or compliment; smile at a stranger; let a car in front of you in traffic; tell a joke to make someone smile; buy a friend or colleague coffee. There are many more that could be added to our “what have you done list.”

So we have a choice to make. Do we do something, no matter how insignificant it seems, or do we continue to worry, complain, feel frustrated and depressed and chalk up another year of wondering where the time went and what do we have to show for it? Do we get up in the morning with a hopeful attitude, or do we dread what is ahead of us?

By now you’re thinking I’m a Pollyanna, but let me assure you, I’ve got lots of issues I could mope about. Life is a struggle. It’s not easy, but why make it harder? Martin Luther King Jr. said: “We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.”

My wish for all of you this year, as you are thinking about what you have done in 2018, is what I wanted for you last year: Consider smiling more, complimenting frequently, sharing often, caring deeply, hugging whenever you get the chance, spreading cheer and laughing a lot. Small stuff has a way of multiplying.

Rose Ann Miele is a journalist and was public information officer for Boulder City for nine years. She can be reached at or at 702-339-9082.

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