You may have seen the pictures on today’s front page from the United Way award luncheon at the Gainesville Civic Center.

The place was full of people who organized fundraisers in their workplaces over the last year to benefit very worthy causes around Cooke County, including Abigail’s Arms, CASA of North Texas, Cooke County Junior Livestock Show, Meals on Wheels of Texoma, Muenster Youth Council and a couple dozen more.

The 2022 campaign was a big success, netting over $350,000 to be turned into grants next year for the participating agencies. Everyone who participated should be proud, as pulling in that kind of money in the midst of a pandemic and topsy-turvy economy is unabashedly good work.

These noble efforts are going to help some of our neighbors and that’s not nothing; however, it’s easy to say how wonderful these efforts are, then forget about them until next year’s awards luncheon. We often look at groups like the United Way and its member agencies and content ourselves that everything that can reasonably be done is being done.

But that’s not really the case, is it?

Don’t panic: I’m not suggesting that you dig deeper into your pockets or pay more taxes. Give more if you can, by all means, but what I’m getting at is more subtle.

I am suggesting that you (and I) could do more to make Cooke County a better place by doing more of the little things to take some sting out of day-to-living:

– Try saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ all the time, and not just when you’re in a good mood;

– Don’t get mad when the other person fails to say ‘You’re welcome’;

– Don’t lash out at cashiers and waitresses because you’re having a crappy day;

– Open doors for other people – not just old ladies;

– Don’t stare at your phone when someone is trying to talk to you;

– Turn down whatever it is you’re watching when someone is trying to talk to you on the phone;

– Don’t join a long line at a drive-thru, then honk your horn because it’s taking so long;

– Stay off your phone when you’re driving – as in don’t hold it or look at it or talk on it;

– Don’t take everything you read on Facebook as the Gospel Truth and reject out-of-hand any assertions to the contrary;

– Give the all caps and exclamation points a rest when you’re texting or emailing or on social media. TRY TO MAKE YOUR POINT WITHOUT THROWING TANTRUMS!!!!!!

Being polite is not a sign of weakness, nor is it an invitation for someone to get over on you in some petty way. Your mother raised to be polite for a reason.

Will any of these suggestions cure cancer? No, of course not. They could, however, spare you and the people you come across every day a little bit of aggravation, one less thing to drag home at night after a long day at work.

I’m not a churchgoer, but I do believe in the Golden Rule. I’ve seen too many good turns in my life that have inspired others to better things. I choose not to pout every single time something doesn’t go my way. I think I and the people in my life are better off for it, however slightly.

Give it a try, please.

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