How Small Acts of Kindness Can Make a Massive Difference
A little food, a little drink at the right time in the right place can work wonders.
Until last week, I had no idea what a difference watermelon and a bottle of Coke could make.
Jonathan Feldstein and I spent a couple of hours on a Friday afternoon visiting with soldiers stationed throughout Gush Etzion and Hebron, delivering a little refreshment. Jonathan is the founder of the Genesis 123 Foundation, the creator of several initiatives helping both Israel's soldiers and Israel's most vulnerable populations. Jonathan has also been a guest several times on The Teacher and the Preacher.
Why deliver watermelon and drinks to soldiers? Is that what they need?
We're in the middle of a heatwave right now in Israel, with temperatures well in the 90s and sometimes pushing 100 degrees. Our soldiers are enduring this extreme heat and sometimes dangerous conditions to guard the land and keep the rest of us safe.
The watermelon, water and soda were a welcome respite from the extreme conditions. I felt parched just getting out of the car for a few minutes at a time to deliver to the soldiers at each guard post. I can only imagine what it was like for them, being out in the heat all day and needing to be focused and ready for action the entire time.
But as important as the nourishment was, it turned out to be so much more. We thought we were simply providing refreshments. But the smiles we saw and the hugs we received went well beyond giving them a bit to eat and drink.
For a young soldier - and most of them are 18 to 20 years old - it can feel very lonely out there in the heat, close to danger, all by themselves in often tense situations. Just knowing that someone cared enough to drive down to see them and offer them a little respite from the heat meant far more to them than what we gave them.
And truth be told, we received far more than what we gave them. Seeing the expressions of gratitude on their faces, knowing we had made their day brighter, meant the world to us.
And all it took was a little watermelon and bottled drinks. There's a wonderful lesson here. We often assume that to make a difference we need to do something big, something that takes a daunting amount of time, energy and money. It turns out the small gestures, the ones well within our power to do, can make the biggest difference.
We talked about the experience on Jonathan's podcast, which you can listen to here.
Harold Berman - The Teacher