I wasn’t married long before I discovered the surest way to start a fight: a trip to the grocery store. Of the many complaints I have about grocery shopping with my wife (I’m sure she has twice as many with me), the first on my list is product selection. Sure, we sometimes stand in the juice aisle debating the merits of White House apple juice over Motts (of course, White House is the superior juice), but I’m actually referring to choosing a product from the back of the stock. My wife seems to believe that the second can of tomato soup tastes just a little fresher, and she may well be right—I honestly can’t remember, I haven’t had a “first can” since we’ve been married. And now when I shop alone and pull an item from the shelf, I hear her voice in my head, “Dig a little deeper.” And I do. By now, it’s become habit.
How often are we willing to dig a little deeper in our own lives? Rather than just a friendly greeting to our elderly friend at the grocery, do we extend an offer to help load their purchase into their car? Not just donating money or food to the local food pantry, but offering of our time to help distribute it. A nice tip is certainly appreciated by the waitstaff of your favorite eatery, but your pleasant attitude is appreciated even more. And do you call your friends or neighbors to check on them, ask them about how they are? And if you do ask, do you actually listen and pay attention to their response? Do you offer your assistance?
I often fail on so many of those. See, those actions require “digging a little deeper.” They take a more outgoing approach on our behalf. Those actions warrant more of our time and effort, which is precisely why going that extra mile means so much more to the recipients of our kindness.
And perhaps, like me, you often realize ways you could have helped only later, when it’s too late. You realize after arriving home that the milk you just bought expires tomorrow, and you quickly understand you should’ve “dug a little deeper.”
So how do we become the truly caring friends and neighbors we desire to be? We dig a little deeper, of course, and expend a little more effort and energy, devote a little more time in service to others. And how do we recognize when opportunities present themselves for us to apply our acts of kindness? It’s simple really—the same way I remember to grab the second can of tomato soup—habit. (P.S.—in case you were wondering, it’s Campbell’s of course!)