Marta was a hard-working single mother. When her minister sermonized about “living a life that matters,” she worried that working to raise her kids and going to church wasn’t enough. So, on the bus to work she made a list of other jobs she could do and volunteer work she could try.
Sylvia, an elderly woman, saw the worry on Marta’s face and asked what was wrong. Marta explained her problem. Sylvia said, “Oh my, did your minister say you weren’t doing enough?”
“No,” Marta said, “But I don’t know how to live a life that matters.”
“You don’t have to change jobs or do more volunteer work,” Sylvia consoled her. “It’s enough that you’re a good mother. But if you want to do more, think about what you can do while doing what you already do. It’s not about what you do, but how you do it.”
“You don’t understand,” Marta said. “I sell hamburgers. How do I make that significant?”
“How many people do you deal with every day?” Sylvia asked.
“Two to three hundred.”
“Well, what if you set out to cheer, encourage, teach or inspire as many of those people as you could? A compliment, a bit of advice, a cheerful hello or a warm smile can start a chain reaction that lights up lives like an endless string of Christmas bulbs.”
“But that’s just being nice,” Marta protested.
“Right,” said Sylvia, “Niceness can change lives.”
Marta looked at the old woman. “What do you do?”
“I was a housekeeper until I retired,” Sylvia said. “Now I just ride the bus talking to people.”
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.