The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

The Smallest Gestures Of Love Can Make The Biggest Impact

On December 9th, 2013, posted in: Uncategorized by

During this holiday season, think love. Love has been on my mind. Nelson Mandela epitomized love. The tributes that have followed his passing spoke of a world leader rooted in love. He was a shining example of someone who lit a path and did not spend time cursing the darkness. Mr. Mandela joined a group of world leaders – Jesus, Gandhi and Dr. King – who have tackled world problems with love first. The Bible and the other’s respective teachings are based in love. Lessons are there for the taking.

I was recently interviewed and was asked a question about leadership. I forget the exact context in which the question was asked, but my answer was consistent with many others I have given on the subject of leading people: “start with love.” That’s what I said last week, next week and always to come. Love does not have to be adjusted out of the workplace. It is the bedrock for compassion, understanding and self-control. Last I checked, these are three key characteristics of a successful workplace that do not always show themselves in the most positive light within the busy, cubicle-laden world in which we now live.

Separate from the workplace, we should “love” during this hectic season – even when many are far from loving you back. Busy parking lots, hectic stores, traffic everywhere, tired store workers, and people filled with a heightened level of emotion all come together to make for the most ideal targets to attack with a full quiver full of love.

Here’s a story for the season. Sometimes it is the smallest gestures of love that make the biggest impact. Walmart is a place to find all of the ills of the season. Too many people with self-interests, in too small a place, is a recipe for the antithesis of love to rear its ugly head.

So, the story is told that amidst the turmoil and headache of an overcrowded check-out line with an overworked checker and an over-caffeinated group of restless customers was a little boy and a grandma. The little boy in the 3-year-old range was rather insistent with “Gammy” that he must have a piece of gum from the vending machine. The cost was a quarter and “Gammy” didn’t have a quarter. We’ve all been there, and the persistent repetitiveness of the request by a 3-year old running behind on nap time was beginning to test everyone within earshot.

My wife, who is my hero for more reasons than I can count, put on her superhero cape and offered up a quarter. Gammy, who was now getting the stink eye from a handful of people worn out by Jr.’s persistence, accepted my wife’s generosity and the quarter exchanged hands. Love, just a little, perfectly timed, with a perfect attitude, was just the medicine needed to defuse the situation.

If you want to know what a quarter is worth, it is considerably more than 25 cents. A quarter is worth peace on earth, goodwill toward men. It is a measurement of the kindness of humanity. It represents peace, and it provides for a great example to the many patrons surrounding the incident. “Pay it forward” was the quiet, yet poignant, message delivered that day.

Oh yeah, it is also worth two hugs from a little boy. Is there anything better than two hugs from a smiling little boy? My wife made a difference in countless people’s lives that day – none more than a very happy little boy and a Gammy stuck in a bad place. Always lead with love…always.

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