Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

Looking for the good

HIS SHOULDERS sagged a little and his eyes narrowed in a slight query, as if to say, Oh no, here we go again; what this time? Clearly, asking someone “Are you the manager?” at the supermarket is typically not a herald of good tidings to follow.

The relief on his face was palpable when I told him that I just wanted him to know what excellent service I’d experienced over at the deli counter. The young man there had been personable, attentive, and efficient, I explained.

The manager thanked me for the commendation, and told me that the employee in question would get a free lunch coupon as a small pat on the back.

I think all three of us probably felt just a teensy bit better about our day. And it took me all of about three minutes.

I’m on the lookout for similar small opportunities to highlight goodness as I go through my days. It’s my modest effort to counter what seems to be the prevailing climate of negativity in our world. From ubiquitous security cameras to smartphones, it feels like we’re all just waiting to catch someone in the act of doing something wrong.

There’s a place for spotting and addressing bad behavior, for sure. But while living under surveillance may restrain people’s fallen natures, it doesn’t foster their positive side.

I once worked for a boss whose attitude was that employees would try to get away with stuff if you didn’t keep a close eye on them. It was not a life-giving culture, to say the least.

So how about if instead of only looking to call people out, we all made more of an effort to call people up, too? You know, celebrate them when they do good?

I’m discovering that there are plenty of opportunities to do so—when you look for them. A guy at a car rental agency was really helpful when I had a problem on a recent business trip. I thanked him at the time, but later also decided to send him an email to express my appreciation. I asked him to forward it to his manager or supervisor so they knew too. Again, it only took a couple of minutes.

If there is no one else to whom you can commend someone’s behavior, maybe you could make a point of telling them directly why you appreciate them. That’s more than just saying “thank you”; it involves being specific about what they did. Doing so says that, in a busy world, someone noticed their quiet goodness.

Speaker and author Bob Goff (Love Does, Everybody Always) carries around medals that he pins on people he wants to acknowledge in some way. Maybe you could print up some simple business cards that express appreciation and present them to worthy recipients.

As Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.”

Photo on Foter.com

4 Responses to “Looking for the good”

  1. Margaret Stickler

    Last year, having noticed that the Estate Agent through whom I had bought my current home 15 years ago was celebrating 25 years of business, I went in and congratulated the . I also expressed my appreciation of the way in which I had been treated by them at the time, saying that I felt they had been working solely on my behalf instead of the seller. The manager seemed to grow a couple of inches and said I had made his day. I came away feeling really good.


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