Labor Day. The first day of fall. “Talk Like a Pirate Day.”
These are things we celebrate in September; but, there is another noteworthy national observance that falls on September 12: The National Day of Encouragement.
Ever heard of that one?
If your answer is “no,” don’t be discouraged. It turns out that this day set aside for encouraging your fellow man never really took off. The United States Senate even passed a proclamation designating September 12 as The National Day of Encouragement:
“Whereas the renewed feelings of unity, hope, selflessness and encouragement that began on September 12, 2001, are the same feelings that the National Day of Encouragement is meant to recapture and spread.”
I looked up the National Day of Encouragement on Facebook. The page has fewer than 1,700 likes. You might think that’s kind of impressive – that is, until you look up International “Talk Like a Pirate Day” with its closer to 150,000 Facebook likes.
Apparently, the spirit of sharing, caring and compassion is not nearly as fun as trying to talk like Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean.” All it really takes to accomplish that is a pint of rum and a review of a few Keith Richards interview videos.
Seeking out the discouraged and downtrodden in order to lift them up – maybe it’s not as sexy as pirate banter, but it is more challenging. It’s not so much that it is difficult to find these discouraged/downtrodden souls as it is to stop thinking about our own problems long enough to realize there is always someone who has it worse than we do.
If you are sooooo over the whole “pirate thing” and want to give encouraging positivity a whirl, you should know that there hasn’t been a post on the National Day of Encouragement Facebook page since last year. I hope they’re not giving up. Maybe a few “likes” or, even better, a few inspired good deeds might create a resurgence – well, actually, a surge of activity on this overlooked page.
If you’re just absolutely stumped as to how to celebrate the National Day of Encouragement, here are a few suggestions:
- Smile at a stranger, or at anyone who seems to need to see a smile.
- Let someone know what a great job they are doing, or did, with … anything.
- Listen to someone. Really listen. Hear their hopes and dreams, and encourage them.
- Stop thinking about whatever is bothering you, look around, and really be there for someone you know is going through a rough time.
- Go an entire day without judging people, accepting them as they are.
The people – whomever they were – who started this national observance (according to Wikipedia) actually hoped that being an encourager for just one day might inspire us to make a daily habit of it.
To encourage, according to the mystical Internet dictionary, is “to give support, confidence or hope.” Go ahead. I know you can do this. Spread some encouragement.
No, really … you’ve totally got this!