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Music and the Spoken Word: Small gestures of kindness

Editor's note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast. This will be given Aug. 6, 2017.

It’s been said that the little things are the big things. This applies to many aspects of life, but especially to the small courtesies, the little acts of kindness that end up making a big difference. Truly, from the small and simple comes that which is great.

It happens when a seedling is nurtured and grows into a strong tree, and it happens when little kindnesses help people blossom and grow. It’s one of the most important ways we make a difference in the world.

And certainly, there are things about the world that we wish were different. We see conflict and discord at home and abroad, and we wonder how things will ever improve. In this respect, our day isn’t unique — those who went before us faced times that were challenging and difficult too. But that doesn’t mean the situation is hopeless.

There is something we can do to feel a little better about the world and about life. And it doesn’t have to be something grand or dramatic. Sometimes even the most complicated problems have surprisingly simple solutions.

When the world seems to spin out of control, we can do our part to “try to stem the madness,” as one columnist wrote recently. “It begins with simply caring,” she said, “by looking up from our cellphones and making eye contact; by asking the checkout girl about her day; thanking the garbage collector; doing favors without a scorecard; giving away money because someone needs it more. Sometimes a small gesture of kindness can change someone’s day — or life. If the cumulative effect of evil acts brings us down, mightn’t the cumulative effect of good deeds lift us up?” (see Kathleen Parker's “Sometimes a small gesture of kindness can change someone’s day — or life,” Deseret News, June 20, 2017).

It’s simple, really. A sure way to begin feeling a little better about the world and your life, a good way to truly make a difference in a troubled world, is to look around and do something good.

The good we do matters, for the best way to drive away darkness is to turn on a light, even if it’s small. So do some good today — and tomorrow. Before you know it, the world will become a better place.

Tuning in …

The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM,, KSL X-stream, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, BYU-TV International, CBS Radio Network, Dish Network, DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Channel 143), and The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. MDT on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at