The theme, if you're not familiar with it, is one I borrowed from my lovely friend Claire. Five minutes, one word prompt: go!
A volunteer who later became a friend once told me, "RK, you have the gift of encouragement - and that's a very good gift to have."
I never thought of encouragement as a gift before that; it was just something I did, part of being honest; part of being nice. Not fake nice, but why not share the good?
Why not share? Why not encourage? I've told my boss, "It doesn't cost anything."
But it can make a world of difference.
Years ago, when I was in transition and my dad was basically rescuing me, we were on a road trip and he bought me a clock in a restaurant gift shop.
"For you to put on your desk when you're a newspaper reporter," he said.
I said something negative to the effect of, "Yeah, right, that's not going to happen."
And less than a year later, it did. Things improved. My life went on in the direction I had wanted it to, before being detoured by depression and other circumstances. (By the way, I still have that clock on my desk. If it ever stops working, it will still stay on my desk.)
Had I not had encouragement, would I have gone on the same path? Perhaps so, perhaps not. But it would have been so much harder. Self-doubt could have - or would have - taken over.
So I encourage all of you to share the good where you find it. Letting someone know they have done something meaningful, helpful, or just plain nice may be more important to them than you know.
There's my mushy post for 2014. Time's up.