By Carol Mills, Executive Director, Newaygo County Mental Health
Find a penny, pick it up, all day long you will have good luck!
Ever wonder where all those pennies you see on the ground have been, and how they got there? Do people drop them purposely? And if it isn’t head-side up, do you flip it over and leave the luck for the next person?
I have been a penny picker-upper (and flipper over-er if the wrong side is up) for many years.
So how do they get there? The U.S. Treasury estimates that at least 62 million pennies are removed from circulation every year. There aren’t that many pennies on the ground!
Still, the thought you can affect someone’s day, and hopefully make it better, for just a penny is intriguing. How else can we affect someone’s day and make it better? There are lots of ways that are not so random as being in the right place, at the right time, with the right penny, facing right-side up.
It seems as though COVID has made us less empathetic towards others. Stress is at an all-time high, and many families are struggling in both financial ways as well as with their mental health. Lots of people are vocal about their unhappiness with the government, schools, public health, etc. There are strong feelings on all sides of the issues and problems facing us. People are leaving the workforce in droves. Teachers are retiring before they had planned. Recognizing that these are not normal times, and it is OK to struggle and seek help, is important. There is a lot of anger in this world right now, and we see that reflected directly in our community as well.
At the same time, we see neighbors helping neighbors by plowing driveways, delivering wood to those in need, and helping people in a myriad of ways, both big and small. Kind of like leaving a penny on the ground, only more personal. It makes people’s days better.
Maybe we can all learn from the penny on the ground. Throughout the day, what if we all looked for opportunities to make someone’s life a little easier? Let the Mom with crying kids go in front of you at the grocery checkout. Offer to help the elderly and disabled carry groceries to their car and help them to not slip and fall on the ice. Shovel sidewalks (and driveways) for those that it is difficult for. Sometimes I buy a $1.00 lottery ticket, and hand it to the person in line behind me. I will never know whether or not they hit the jackpot, and that is ok. You don’t always need to know the outcome.
The Dalai Lama once said “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others, and if you can’t help them, at least do not harm them.” Maybe doing no harm is as important as helping them.
We are almost two years into a pandemic that seems like it is never going to end. Everyone has been affected in some way or another. Perhaps looking for ways to help each other during this time of stress is a way to also help ourselves. If you need assistance with a mental health issue, please call Newaygo County Mental Health at 231-689-7330. We are here 24/7 to help.
And if you can’t think of a specific way to help someone, you can always drop a penny or two…..
-Newaygo County Mental Health has been providing exceptional services to residents of the Newaygo County community and their families for 50 years.
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