Avon Park Library Library Columns

Why Wait? by Bari Lotts

APL Librarian

During the recent anniversary of the 9/11 attacks I heard so many speak of the ability of Americans to join together in the aftermath of the horrific events of that day. News casters, politicians, students, celebrities and ordinary people all shared and posted comments about Americans coming to the aid of their neighbors; helping each other rather than harming; supporting each other rather than tearing each other down; believing in each other rather than doubting each other. Many stated that the heroic acts of that day restored their faith in the inherent goodness of humankind. Many also expressed their belief that it would take another catastrophe to bring all Americans together in solidarity again. This left me with one question – why wait? Why wait for another terrorist attack, active shooting or major climate disaster to unite? Instead, why don’t we seize the day, live in the moment here and now?

Very often our inability to be mindful stems from our inability to step outside of our own thoughts and feelings and understand the thoughts and feelings of others. Rather than dwell on past wrongs, mindful individuals live in the present. Rather than judge others, mindful individuals are intentionally curious about the people and things around them. To develop mindfulness we must train ourselves to observe things objectively, without allowing our emotions or preconceived ideas to influence our views. In doing this, we expand our awareness and enjoy a more fulfilling life. When our lives are fuller and more satisfying we can have a positive effect on our communities.

One way we can move towards greater mindfulness and unity is by simply taking the time to be kind to one another. Here are just some things we can try:

  • Write thank you notes.
  • Offer to sit for parents or caregivers you know.
  • Wash a neighbor’s car or help around the house.
  • Clean up trash.
  • Let someone go in front of you at the store.
  • Hold the door for someone.
  • Donate blood.
  • Return a stray grocery cart.
  • Give up your seat for someone who needs it more.
  • Leave inspirational messages for others.

If you’re in need of some inspiration, find it at your local library by checking out these classic movies:

Pay it ForwardPay It Forward: Social studies teacher Eugene Simonet gives his class an assignment: look at the world around you and fix what you don’t like. One student comes up with an idea. (You can also check out the book by Catherin Ryan Hyde!)

FreedomFreedom Writers: A story of inner-city kids raised on drive-by shootings and hard-core attitude – and the teacher who gives them the one thing they need most: a voice of their own.

MillionsMillions: A young boy comes across the loot from a bank robbery, but he has only a week to spend it before the UK switches to the Euro.

PursuitThe Pursuit of Happyness: A true story about a struggling single father who dreams of a better life for his young son. Finding himself homeless, he risks everything by embarking on an unpaid internship in a highly competitive stockbroker training program where only one in twenty interns make the grade.

Yes Man: A man challenges himself to say “yes” to everything.

Would you like to support Highlands County Libraries? Then, I have good news for you. The Friends of the Avon Park Public Library BLOW OUT BOOK SALE has been extended! Each Friday between the hours of 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM you can purchase any hardcover book for only 50 CENTS! While you’re there, consider becoming a Friends of the Library member for only $10 per year. Your annual membership includes 12 free books!

To learn more about the Heartland Library Cooperative visit us at www.myhlc.org or follow us on Facebook at the Highlands Board of County Commissioners page!