We Can Be Better

  • Posted on: 2 February 2011
  • By: BeverlyBauer

I’m not a new year’s resolution type of person. Instead I’m one who prefers to go with a theme that gives me a broad sweep of ways to be a better person, Theme possibilities included things such as tolerance, volunteerism, and organization. I narrowed it down to two: kindness and gratitude. The final decision was kindness with the goal of being more intentional about all the facets of kindness. I could work on being a good neighbor, or performing random acts of kindness or even being kind to myself by getting more balance in my life or more exercise. I wanted it to be more than sharing the biggest piece of the candy bar. The kindness I wanted to work on was the kind that could be synonymous with compassion.With that in mind, I was eager to read two books that seemed to be getting a lot of buzz: Twelve Steps to a More Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong and 365 Thank Yous, How Simple Acts of Daily Gratitude Changed a Life by John Kralik. Just as I was dipping into them, the events and responses of the Arizona shooting happened and they became relevant in a whole new way. Anyone who is wanting to make a fresh start or make a difference or be uplifted, if even in a small or personal way, will find inspiration and help in these two books.Armstrong’s book on compassion is part practical, part philosophical, and part spiritual. Her chapters such as “How should we speak to one another?” or  “Love your enemies” have implications for us as individuals and as a country. It’s clear I’m going to have to ramp up my approach to my kindness theme but that golden rule we learned as children seems to be in play in a big way here.In the second book, 365 Thank Yous, the author states he had a difficult year with challenges and struggles in almost every aspect of his life. On self-reflection he realized he wanted to take things in a different direction and decided to reframe his outlook. Kralik remembers his grandfather who gave him a silver dollar every time he wrote him a thank you note. Kralik then undertakes the task of writing a thank you note every day for a year and found that this changed his life. This is a story about a seemingly simple task that is told with heart and soul.While we are on the topic, we at Redbery Books are grateful to be a part of this community. We enjoy that our customers have become our friends. We smile when right before our eyes we see friendships happen between customer and customer. We learn the meaning of compassion when a visitor to our area drops everything to help one of our disabled local residents with the ice on her door. We are enriched by the shared excitement over books and ideas from both kids and adults. I can’t imagine a better place to be in business as an independent bookseller. We thank all of you that help make this possible.