Plant goodness, harvest the fruit of loyalty, plow the new ground of knowledge.
Hosea 10:12 (NCV)
The other day I opened my daily e-devotional to read the above scripture. The accompanying devotional spoke of what a difference a compliment can make in someone’s life. I know firsthand that it’s true; everyone blossoms after a compliment, no matter how small a one.
I recall my shop girl days at Neiman Marcus, right after Joel and I returned home post law school. It was an interesting and fun job; I was doing seasonal work and was assigned to the stationery department, which was a busy place to be during the weeks preceding Christmas!
One day there was a phone customer calling from out of town who wanted a large order of Christmas cards she had seen in the catalogue. (note, this was back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth and there was no internet) I had to really scrounge to come up with all the boxes she wanted, searching the cluttered storeroom shelves as if on an archeological dig. Happily, it turned out that I found enough to complete her order, and she was so pleased. It was a real pleasure helping someone who was so positive and appreciative.
That evening, I went home in good spirits; feeling appreciated is contagious, and results in “planting goodness” for others to harvest the fruit of loyalty. But the story doesn’t end there. Days later, my supervisor called me over to share something from the personnel department. It was a letter of commendation that my customer had written to the store about me! That she took the time to write a personal letter extolling my good service meant so much to me, especially because it was duly noted by my supervisor!
After that, I doubled my efforts to do the very best job I could possibly do for any and all customers. The harvest from that generous gesture reaped good will that spread like ripples in a pond after a stone is tossed into the water. I recall helping one gentleman select “the perfect Christmas gift” for his wife; he asked me what sort of gift I would like from my own husband. I pointed out one of those Halcyon Days porcelain boxes with a message inscribed on it. On the lid, the words were, “This, and the giver” and then on the inside it read, “are thine forever.” I said that if my husband picked this gift out for me I’d be thrilled. Sold. He seemed very pleased with his purchase.
So pleased was he that he came back AFTER Christmas to tell me just how delighted his wife was with such a romantic gift. Boy, that really made my day!
Those two experiences were good life lessons for me that I’ve tried to pass along when the occasion merits. Compliments create good will that conceivably could circle the globe if everyone would be mindful to appreciate those who deserve a pat on the back. I think I’ll look for an opportunity each day to plant that sort of goodness. It’s a fun way to make a difference, and it feels great to do so!