Often in life we are encouraged to have a wider perspective, a longer view of the horizon so that our challenges become minimized in focus. I think this approach needs to be turned on its head at this time. Bring the magnifying glass in as close as possible. Look directly in front of you and make sure every interaction has an impact. Bring love, kindness, and compassion to all whom you greet. When fear and anxiety grip you, lean in and ask yourself, “Am I in danger right now?” Most likely you are not. Then ask yourself, “Who can I touch with a warm glance, a kind word or a note sent?”
Recently, we at JF&CS shared our vision to expand the mental health services we provide to children teens, and families. We are seeing pain, fear and instability take hold within the youth in our community. As we shared this vision, the Jewish community responded with incredible generosity.
Gifts large and small came our way. These acts of kindness are life-changing.
We are proud to share that we are launching the Horwitz Zusman Child & Family Center, in honor of a transformational gift from the Horwitz and Zusman family, operating within the Frances Bunzl Clinical Services.
During a webinar, JF&CS therapists spoke about the importance of being present, doing breathing exercises, having meaningful family time, being with nature. As I listened, I did the exercises they were talking about: I breathed slowly in and out, took in the beauty of the trees behind my house, the green leaves in contrast to the beautiful blue sky. I visualized being on the beach with my children. Life came into focus and the fear fell away.
As we approach the holidays we all need to breathe and know that our words, deeds, and actions matter. Go slow, savor the small wins, and spread goodness wherever possible. Change starts with you.
Terri Bonoff is the CEO of Jewish Family & Career Services.