Bt Wendi Rank
The best part of A Christmas Carol is watching Scrooge engage in his first good deed. His exuberance at sending the Cratchit family a holiday goose is infectious. He grows happier with each kind act, endearing the audience to the reformed curmudgeon.
Though his character was fictional, Dickens was onto something. Elizabeth Bernstein, writing for the Wall Street Journal, tells us the benefits of being kind to others. During a pandemic, Bernstein says, these benefits are more important than ever.
My husband would point to George Bailey, whose soul was crushed by his never-reciprocated good works. Bernstein might agree. She emphasizes being kind to yourself. You’ll wear yourself down if you don’t address your needs.
It pains me to say Bernstein would agree with my husband. I’d rather have an angel or a ghost pay him a visit. I’d even take a long-lost son who’s been raised as an elf in Santa’s workshop.
The Perks of Being Kind
What can you, Scrooge, and George Bailey get from your virtuosity? Your mental and physical health can improve, says Bernstein. There’s even a study coming out indicating do-gooders are perceived as more physically attractive.
Hmm…Scrooge as a pin-up? We might all sign up for a ghostly visit if it makes us prettier.
Kindness may have abandoned us, especially during the pandemic. Start small, says Bernstein. A kind word to a cashier or wave to a neighbor can turn the engine over. Finding a role model provides a roadmap.
Generosity within your family and teaching your kids to be kind work too, says Bernstein. Acknowledge other people’s benevolence, or recall a kindness you’ve bestowed in the past.
And if you have a spare Clarence, send him my way. The George Bailey I married needs him. That can be your good deed for today.
See here for Bernstein’s complete Wall Street Journal article.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wendi Rank is a Willow Grove native with a graduate degree from LaSalle University. She has worked as a school nurse, a registered nurse and nurse practitioner in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She has previously written for the journal Nursing.