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The Power of One

By Consuelo (Chit) E. Munar

“One tree can start a forest; one smile can begin a friendship

One hand can lift a soul; one word can frame the goal

One candle can wipe out darkness; one laugh can conquer gloom

One hope can raise your spirits; one touch can show you care

One life can make the difference, be that one today.”

It takes One thought, One spark and One action to manifest something of significant value that impacts not only one person but a community, a society and even the world. The rippling effect of One is truly contagious. Take the case of a random act of kindness. The power of kindness should never be underestimated in order to change the way people see and experience the world. Being kind can change someone’s life.

In any form or shape, we all struggle. We all stress. The good news is we also all love. Kindness does really start with one – one person, one act, one city, and one movement with one goal in mind: to make our world a kinder place one act at a time.

There are scientifically proven benefits of being kind. Kindness increases:

1         Love hormone – Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin (referred to as Love Hormone) which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall health.

2         Happiness – According to a 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that people who are altruistic – in this case, people who are generous financially, such as with charitable donations – were happiest overall.

3         Energy – In one study reported, half of the participants feel stronger and more energetic after helping others; many also reported being more calm and less depressed with increase feeling of self-worth.

4         Pleasure – According to research from Emory University, when you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centres light up, as if you were the receiver of the good deed-not the giver. This phenomenon is called the “helper’s high.”

5         Lifespan – people who volunteer tend to experience lesser aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early.

Everyone wants to live in a world where everyone looks out for each other where kindness is the norm and that every one helps out in anyway they can.

In John’s gospel 8:12, Jesus declares “ I am the light of the world.” What did He mean? Light is a common metaphor in the bible. It symbolizes righteousness. Jesus used light as a picture of good deeds. In declaring Himself as the Light of the world, Jesus was claiming that He is exclusively the source of spiritual light. When Jesus said, “ whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life,” the allegory he used speaks of the light of His truth, the light of His word and the light of eternal life.

When we take a candle into a dark room, its light dispels darkness. Likewise the Light of Jesus has to be taken into the darkness of sin that engulfs the hearts and souls of those who are not following Him. That is the condition behind having this Light – that we follow him. If we do not follow Him, we will not have this light, this truth and eternal life.

Nelson Mandela said, “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Mandela was a great believer in education and life-long learning. He became the first black president of South Africa. He saw education as part of the key to winning the struggle against apartheid.

Likewise, former US First Lady Michelle Obama declared that education changed everything for her – opening doors to opportunities she never could have imagined. To her, she declared that “ education meant freedom and empowerment; the chance to fill my potential and make my voice heard in the world.“ And it breaks her heart that currently there are millions of girls across the globe who don’t have a chance to attend school.

Michelle and Barack Obama recognize the kind of impact educating girls can have – not just for them and their families, but for their communities and their countries as well. Girls who go to school marry later, have lower rates of infant and maternity mortality. Girls who are educated also earn higher salaries – 10 to 20 percent more for each additional year of secondary school. And sending more girls to school and into the workforce can boost an entire country’s economy. So the former First Lady started an initiative to help more girls worldwide attend school thru the Obama Foundation.

Kindness starts in all of us, endeavouring to make strides towards building a kinder world. We can live everyday working to make kindness effortless and have selfless acts be the norm.

Consuelo (Chit) E. Munar is the past president of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association of Calgary (UPAAA) 2012-2015. Currently, she is the Chairperson of the Stewardship Committee at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church. She also chairs the Catholic Women’s League Committee on Legislations and Resolutions of Holy Trinity Parish CWL Council.


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