by Nickie Kromminga Hill
We are coming out of an amazing week here at TSSG! Our first two Bundle Up, MN distributions were huge successes! We had a wonderful feature on WCCO and dozens of people have reached out asking how they can help our organization. It’s been a happy whirlwind of love and support, and we are so grateful.
And then we received a critical email that was a bit of a blow. In this email, a gentleman essentially told us that our Bundle Up, MN event, however well-intentioned, really misses the mark.
Upon reading the email for the first time, my initial thoughts were, “%&*@#%.” Because I am human, I was upset that he was upset. How DARE he criticize us! And because I have yet to master any of the four agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, I took it personally. My thoughts and feelings toward this particular stranger were not very sunshiny, I’m afraid.
And so I paused. I closed the email and did some other things for a bit.
And then I paced around and said aloud, “I’ll show him!”
And then I paused some more and distracted myself until I found a bit of clarity.
What if I re-read the email and assumed the best in this person? What if, instead of thinking “this person is out to get me and my organization,” (which, sidebar, is really destructive thinking. No one is out to get me), I just assumed the best in this person?
I re-read the email. I won’t go into the nitty-gritty here, but essentially, he wanted to be sure that our warm donations actually get into the hands of people that need them, that we were being respectful to nature, and respectful to the park. YES. These are all things a concerned citizen should care about, and I’m grateful that there are so many people out there that give a gosh darn about the world.
And here is where I wish he would have assumed the best in The Spread Sunshine Gang. This man only saw a one minute blurb on the event. What he didn’t see was all of the time and thought that goes into planning Bundle Up, MN. He doesn’t know about the shelters and halfway-houses TSSG contacts inviting them to the event. He doesn’t know that we go back to the parks to make sure that all of the leftover items are picked up and then saved for a future event or given to a shelter. He doesn’t know that we are strategic about where we place our items to ensure that no damage is done to nature.
I’m grateful for his communication because it forced us to reflect on how to make the event even better (which is something that we are always working on) and I truly do appreciate that he reached out.
But what if I hadn’t paused for a second and just responded without thinking? My email to him would’ve been horrible. What if he would have researched our organization, or volunteered for us, or asked questions about the event instead of assuming he knew everything involved off of seeing a short news clip?
What would happen if you and I ASSUMED THE BEST in people? It’s a tall order, to be sure, but what if?
Let’s try it and see what happens.