GENE ROBERTSON: Lend a helping hand this holiday season

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 | 11:34 a.m. CST

Now is an opportune time for us to do good.

We are in a season when most of us are feeling benevolent and when there is a great need for our benevolence. The unemployment rate and the termination of unemployment benefits are affecting many of our communities. Our helping organizations are being stretched to their resource limits. Many of us have asked why can't we treat people the way we treat them during the holiday season all of the year. I ask why don't we fully exploit the opportunity we have right now to help each other? Maybe that would encourage us to do more at other times. We could make a monumental difference in the lives of people needing help while receiving the joy of helping others. There is a rich joy to be received when you engage in the helping process. We have an opportunity to help others cement the value of helping in the community while teaching our youth the value of sharing and helping others. We can accomplish this without doing the ultimate giving until it hurts. Just share what you can afford. We can take every opportunity to find fulfillment in expressing our mutual value for each other.

Opportunities have been created in our communities for us all to share our blessings. The Everyone Eats! program, the Salvation Army and other formal programs are among them. We can join these formal efforts or create opportunities with friends and family. We could do even better than that by individually committing ourselves to being kind to everyone we meet without any regard to who or what they are. At the end of the day we could audit our day in regard to how decent we have been to others. This is doable by all of us. My Thanksgiving experience was filled with people doing this. There were people contributing time, turkeys and other foodstuffs as well as space, cooking skills, serving skills and just being nice to each other. The ambiance of delicious flavors, smiles greetings hugs and laughter gave us all something to take to the next place we visited that day. When the food was being blessed at my friends house later Thanksgiving Day, my day was made far richer because of my involvement in the earlier sharing endeavor.

I have an image that has been etched in my mind that reminds me of this experience. It is an image of five or six university basketball players standing in a row with plastic hair coverings on their heads accompanied by a nine-year-old little girl serving food to guests at a Thanksgiving dinner. How rich an image of our capabilities.

A caring community isn't a bad goal to have. There are some who would aspire to this status, why can't we all? I am willing! Are you?

"The smallest good deed is better than the grandest intention." — Anonymous

Happy Holidays!

William E. "Gene" Robertson is a Columbia resident and a professor emeritus at MU.

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