Thank God, It’s Monday, again! Happy Monday to all! In addition to the many celebrations taking place today, happy Random Acts of Kindness Day AND Week! Plus, on a similar note, it’s also National Brotherhood/Sisterhood Week!
NationalDayCalendar.com explains that National Brotherhood/Sisterhood Week “encourages people of diverse faiths to discuss not only our differences but to recognize how we are all the same—uniting in our human brotherhood and sisterhood.”
The “Golden Rule” is a basic, moral principle for society that encourages us to TREAT OTHERS AS WE WANT TO BE TREATED! It is just a commonsense, moral ethic, by which we should all live on a daily basis. Its core is based on the biblical suggestion from the “Book of Matthew”, which says: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matt. 7:12) According to Wikipedia, the name “Golden Rule” came about “because there is value in having this kind of respect and caring attitude for one another.”
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 83-84)
MOM’S ANCESTRY STORY
The principal was not sorry he hired me, for the job required filling in for a teacher who would be out about six weeks due to an auto accident in which she was injured. I took over her class and initiated a school newspaper while I was there… That class was a difficult challenge to say the least.
Perhaps, I took still another risk though, when I told the class that whatever their ancestors were, whatever their ethnic or religious persuasion was, they could not use such conditions as excuses for not at least trying to develop their individual talents and skills. It sounded good. The tough kid in the class…[was] amused and decidedly uninterested in anything I could say. He seemed to be in charge and the rest of the students appeared to yield to his lead, so I talked directly to him, but so that the rest of the class could hear.
I told him that calling me a ‘WASP’ was not a description of what I really was. Of course, WASP meant ‘white Anglo-Saxon Protestant’ and it surprised me that he even knew enough to use that term. He finally shut up and found himself listening to me as I then moved around the classroom telling everybody that it was okay to be sore about not getting a fair break, as long as you didn’t take it out on somebody else.
Since I had their attention, finally, I launched right into a story about my own background and how my mother’s parents were originally German, but they were also Jews, and living in Russia at the turn-of-the-century. It was dangerous for any Jew in Russia at that time, so much like the story of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, my grandparents with two small children and my grandmother then expecting a third child, took a crowded freighter to America. They couldn’t speak a word of English and had nothing with them but what they could carry by hand.
On the way over, unfortunately, they came down with what [was] suspected to be TB. A few years following the birth of their seventh child, TB finally took my grandmother. Having settled in Pittsburgh, my grandfather moved on to Cleveland where he hoped to find relatives who would help him with a job and a place to raise the motherless children. It didn’t work out as he expected, however.
The relatives were not where he had last contacted them. The orphanage was overcrowded that he had been directed to, in order to leave the children and seek treatment for the TB that seem to be getting worse for him. Having been turned away by the orphanage, he was about to leave the children all on a street corner, telling them somebody would come along to help them, but that he had to get his train to the sanatorium that the government was sending him to for help. At that point the nuns were passing by on their usual afternoon walk.
What happened that particular day was rather sketchy in details, since all of the children were then too young to clearly recall it; but apparently, as he left the orphanage and was expressing his despair in tears on the street in front of the school, two nuns were passing by on their way back to the Catholic orphanage down the street. They stopped long enough to ask if they could be of help, and upon hearing the story from the older children who spoke English and Grandpa’s broken English, they concluded that the children needed to be cared for.
They took the children to the Catholic orphanage, assuring my grandfather that they would see to it that they went to Temple every Saturday, even though they would be in the Catholic schools and living in the dormitories with the other children. When there was room for them at the Jewish orphanage, they would then be transferred, and the promise was kept. There, they all remained until each one turned 16 years of age, only to be dismissed into the world, like a prisoner, with nothing more than a change of clothing and bus fair to the city.
The compassion of those Catholic nuns and the care they gave the children of that Jewish immigrant, when Jews were hated as much as they ever were in this country, kept me from ever harboring feelings of prejudice toward other people due to the religious or racial background. But there was more in the lessons I derived from my roots, since every one of those seven brothers and sisters became prosperous and famous in their own right.
One [brother] became an attorney, another a famous artist, and another [became] manager of an apartment complex, while still another became a fine professional carpenter. And [there was my] aunt, who danced as a ballerina with a New York ballet company, as well as an uncle who had his own advertising agency.
My mother met my father when she applied for a job as a typist and secretary at his real estate office. My dad was a devout Christian, so when they were married, she easily embraced his faith and was able to pass on to me the best of three worlds, reflecting the Catholic upbringing with Temple on the Jewish Sabbath and, then, the Christian church, where the precepts were strictly followed in my parents’ home during my own childhood.
The story held the attention of the class just long enough… By the time I had completed the story, I led directly into an assignment of bringing in an account of each students own background and heritage or family roots with much discussion and their various religious practices and ethnic customs. It was a successful experience… Until now, I never wrote about this. Perhaps somebody will benefit from knowing about it, however.
The ‘boy’ Mom spoke of in her memories (above) went on to be a writer and he spoke at Mom’s memorial service, a couple of years ago, about the positive impact she had on him over those teen years and beyond. He credited Mom for influencing him to become a writer and for the quality time she spent with him, voluntarily, to encourage and nurture his love for writing.
Today is also, among other things, Random Acts of Kindness Day and yesterday kicked off Random Acts of Kindness Week, which, this year, is February 16th-22nd. However, while this is an awesome day and week to celebrate acts of kindness, in general, being kind and compassionate should happen every day!
After all, weren’t we taught to be good and kind since we were toddlers in Kindergarten, or even earlier? According to Wikipedia’s interpretation of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Fulghum “explains how the world would be improved if adults adhered to the same basic rules as children, i.e. sharing, being kind to one another, cleaning up after themselves, and living ‘a balanced life’ of work, play, and learning.”
Many others thought this way, as well. One group developed a non-profit organization, which has its own website at https://www.randomactsofkindness.org, where they promote making random acts of kindness “the norm”, offering a lot of stories about kind acts and other inspirations of kindness. Additionally, at WisdomQuotes.com , you’ll find “440 Kindness Quotes That Will Make You A Better Person” – more than enough ideas of which to follow at least one every day for the rest of the year! Practice makes perfect – it also creates habits, which will, hopefully, become natural reflexes.
It’s a shame that the simple act of being kind to someone is forgotten by many after they leave kindergarten. If a kindergartner can understand its importance to society, shouldn’t we all? Like Aesop said: “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” In other words, a culture of kindness can have a positive ripple effect. However, doing something nice should be a selfless act. That’s what inspires others to pay it forward, in the same fashion. On the other hand, being kind solely for the recognition of it throws a selfish disruption in the whole system.
In fact, we receive many other types of rewards from simply being kind to others, without the want of recognition. NationalDayCalendar.com lists some benefits that performing random acts of kindness give us, as psychiatrists claim, it… “Fuels personal energy and self-esteem… Makes you happier… [Is] good for your heart… [And] helps you live longer…” Even science has proven the health benefits that being kind promotes. You can read about it at https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness.
I want to pass this on, to do for this week’s celebration of Random Acts of Kindness Week. It’s from an article on StarTribune.com called “Why Being Kind Makes You Healthier”, by Chrystle Fiedler (July 24, 2019): “Try the seven-day kindness challenge. That means, do at least one act of kindness every day for seven days. Ground rules: Do something different each day; push yourself out of your comfort zone at least once and be sure one of your acts of kindness is anonymous — no one should ever find out who did it.”
In so many ways, Mom and Dad, both, set good examples for me to follow. I am so grateful that my family heritage, on both sides, that I know, were good and kind people. I’m proud to do the same, setting a good example for my children to follow (as well as for people that know me) and that they will continue it, as well, making kindness the daily norm. Like a smile, a random act of kindness – just because – can be contagious. But, unlike the coronavirus, that’s a good thing. Plant the seed, every day, and watch kindness grow wild!
This year in honor of #52Chances and #MemorableBeginnings, I want to offer you a recipe each week from Mom’s “Original 200” Secret RecipesTM collection – as these are the memorable beginnings of the Recipe DetectiveTM. This is Mom’s copycat recipe for Kentucky-Style biscuits, which was also among her “free recipes” offers.
This recipe is for today, being #NationalCabbageDay! It’s an encore of Mom’s copycat recipe for Kentucky-Style coleslaw…
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
NationalDayCalendar.com says, “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story, again; hopefully, re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world. Seven down, 45 to go!
Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective is available for sale, at $20.99 each, through the publisher, Balboa Press, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062252; it’s also available in eBook form, for $3.99, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253