Our grandson is living with my husband and me during his last year of college. He is a wonderful young man already, but one day I was trying to be extra grandmotherly and to impart a tidbit of wisdom. I mentioned how important it is to be thoughtful of others, even in simple ways, just to make others realize how much they are loved and appreciated.
Subsequently, I got to thinking about thoughtfulness in a more analytical way. First of all, thoughtfulness does take time—perhaps not a lot of time, but enough time to consider what we know about a given person or situation. What would allay a person’s worry? What would make that person crack a little smile or breathe a sigh of relief? Sometimes just being polite is being thoughtful. It may slow us down for a moment or two, but it can be worth it.
Attention to detail can promote thoughtfulness. There is positivity in noticing and commenting on how lovely someone looks in that outfit or how well a person bags your groceries. We focus on people other than ourselves and give them pleasant feedback.
Our own creativity can come into play. Share a simple personal story or provoke a short conversation to engage the other person in a friendly exchange. It may be a welcomed surprise to break the monotony. I am constantly aware of the hustle and bustle in today’s world. We can so easily get caught up in what our own agendas are and forget about bringing gentleness and good will into our interpersonal exchanges.
We are expected to be thoughtful when a birthday, holiday, or get-well visit is in order, but there are no time guarantees in this life; it is a good idea to seize each opportunity to spread happiness and peacefulness when we can. It might even be contagious. We can break the cycle of selfishness which is often promoted by advertisers in efforts to sell their products. Thoughtfulness is a gift that requires no wrapping paper. The Holy Spirit might inspire our thoughtful efforts if we ask for help!
There are a number of passages in the Bible that can reinforce this idea of thoughtfulness. Three of my favorites follow, all from the letters of St. Paul. We might consult them for inspiration.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present
your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your
spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the
renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—-what
is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better
than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests
of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:3-5)
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion,
kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
Photo by Jacqueline Munguia on Unsplash
Scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, Connecticut. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.