The heavy wooden door creaks as I swing it open. As I start climbing the stairs to his office, I hear him call my name.
“Chase, is that you coming up those steps?”
I call out, “Yes sir.” I’m only halfway up the stairs but I went ahead and asked, “How’s this day treating you so far?”
He replies with the same answer he always gives me.
“Every day’s a good day because I get to do good things.”
Ben Franklin had two questions he asked himself each day. He began the morning with “What Good shall I do this day?” and ended each evening with “What Good did I do today?”. By focusing on those two questions, Franklin set a simple goal for the day — to do good.
Compared to Franklin’s era, I’ve got more tools to do good than he could ever dream. With my computer in hand, I can start Kickstarter campaigns, raise money for water wells overseas, or volunteer for political candidates that promise change. With a tweet I’m raising awareness for a disease and with a like I show my support for a certain group.
That’s all doing good each day, right?
I’d ask myself that and instantly come back to that one phrase — “Every day’s a good day because I get to do good things.”. This one reply from a gentleman who’s never heard of Twitter or Kickstarter. He’s got a few computers in his office but I’m pretty sure the number of typewriters outnumber them at least two to one.
I remember seeing him once, hearing his normal reply, and asking, “If you don’t mind me asking, what good things have you done today?”
His answer wasn’t full of tweets or likes. It wasn’t raising awareness for this or campaigning for that. Just like that simple daily goal, it focused on one thing — kindness.
It’s the small acts of kindness that have big impacts.
From the Art of Manliness:
“It’s great to have big, idealistic plans to build wells in Africa or change the whole political process. But oftentimes we only associate doing good with doing something big, and since we don’t know how to get started on a huge project, we end up doing….nothing at all.”
During my grandfather’s final days, I saw this firsthand with his nursing staff in the ICU. They made sure my grandmother had enough blankets to keep warm during the night. They placed a cart outside the door with drinks and food for our family. They showed us kindness in every way imaginable.
That’s what I strive for each day now. Nothing big or flashy but something more than a simple tweet or like.
One act of kindness, of goodness, for the day.