These wise words have been attributed to Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States of America, have stood the test of time. In fact, there is scientific research that supports the secret to lasting happiness is helping others. Giving doesn’t have to equal money or costly gifts. Giving can be as simple as holding the door for a stranger or leaving a loved one a handwritten note, telling him or her to have a great day.
A friend of mine recently sent me a hand-written note along with a “Seed of Happiness.” Seeds of Happiness started in 2006 when artist Mark Borella made little smiles from leftover clay and gave them to friends who were going through hard times. I can carry it in my pocket. On days when I feel like an “army of one,” I will be reminded there are others who support me and love me unconditionally.
Here are a few quick and simple idea to “shower” friends and family members with love this spring season:
Pot a plant. When my kids were young, they made me a present by putting an annual flower in a painted clay pot. (Pinterest has so many cute ideas for making flowers, bees and butterflies from kids’ fingerprints.) You also could make an inexpensive gift by planting seeds into a spring-colored Solo® cups. Simply use a paper punch to make a hole on each side of the cup, and then fashion a pipe cleaner handle. (I found these supplies, even the paper punch, at Dollar General). One packet of flower or vegetable seeds will go a long way!
Give buds in a vase. It doesn’t take a bouquet to put a smile on someone’s face. My heart was warmed each time my young kids picked me dandelions because they gave them to me with love. (NOTE: We’ll have “Mommy Vases” for just $5 at The Geneva Market this weekend.)
Doing kind acts for others will make you feel better, and it also helps teach kids empathy.
“Empathy is the critical ability that puts us in other people’s shoes and helps us feel with them. Research finds that this immensely human trait can be cultivated. That means we can teach empathy to kids just like reading, math, and writing because it is made up of social-emotional skills that can be developed,” writes Dr. Michele Borba, internationally recognized educator, speaker and best-selling author on character and social-emotional development, bullying prevention and parenting.
Not only will you make someone feel special when they receive your hand-written note or gift, but you (or your children) will feel good when they give the gift. My mom always told me, “It’s better to give than receive.” And Mom was right!