Make Every Day Thinking Day

A woman thinking

Make Every Day Thinking Day

Hands up everyone who was a Girl Guide and remembers 22 February. This was the day when Thinking Day – now known as World Thinking Day was celebrated. The day was originally designated in 1926 to celebrate the birthdays of Lord Baden Powell (founder of the Scouting movement) and also his wife. It is of course a day of celebration, but also a day of reflection – an opportunity to think of others and the way in which the Scout and Guide movement are part of something much wider with connections across the world.

As a young patrol leader in the Girl Guides, I remember leading the horseshoe parade and carrying the flag on Thinking Day. I probably remember it for all the wrong reasons though. I was tiny, the flagpole was solid wood at least six feet long and the huge flag was made of heavy cotton. It was so heavy! I, however, was determined to do the job properly and was beaming with pride as we paraded around and later (still holding the flag) watched fabulous displays of dancing and singing that celebrated other cultures and our (at the time) connection to the Commonwealth. I was enchanted by the beautiful colours of swirling saris as girls from our troop performed an Indian dance, ably choreographed over weeks of rehearsals by our wonderful Guide Leader Mary Poppin (I kid you not).

Growing up in the Midlands, there was a constant stream of (often exotic) and interesting people visiting our house from all corners of the globe. The generous hospitality of my father meant we often shared food and drink with all kinds of relative strangers. In turn, we were captivated by colourful stories of distant places we could barely imagine – this of course, long before the internet and globalisation gave us the instant information we have today. It was however, Mary Poppin who first opened my eyes to the world of cultural differences and at the same time to cultural similarities that as humans we share, wherever are born on this earth and whatever our race, creed or colour. She was an inspiring gentle lady who embraced everything the world had to offer including having to leave India to live in England. I still remember the wonder in her voice when she told me of the first time she had seen snow shortly after her arrival here.

It came early to me, that knowledge as I soaked up all that was shared and simply accepted it, – accepted that there were both similarities and differences, that essentially, we are all human – the same animal at our core. Several times during my life I have been shocked when friends have described racial abuse to me. I recall asking why in confusion, to be answered with – because I am black, or mixed race or whatever – Oh! I had never noticed what colour they were until that moment. These were people, humans, my friends. This article is not about to turn into a rant against racism or the suppression of minorities by those who dare to believe they have the right to judge their fellow man. No, my purpose, is to propose that from time to time, we simply remember to take a moment – not just on Thinking Day but any day and to take a little time to consider our words and our actions. In that time, consider how what we say and do affects other people in our lives and therefore understand the implications and consequences of those words and actions.

The theme of Thinking Day for 2018 was Impact, with the Guide movement focusing on Connect-Grow-Impact within their community. To make an impact is to have a strong effect according to one definition and yet every small action we take has the potential to affect our family and friends and others we are in connection with. Yes, literally everything we do can make a difference either positively or negatively in the world we live in and in the lives of those around us. There is so much change and turmoil around us and sometimes it may seem like it is far removed from our own reality – the killings, the wars, the natural disasters and yet when we pause for a moment and simply think about our own impact, we understand that we all create impact every day. Whatever we do makes a difference to someone. We each have the power to decide what kind of difference that will be.

I’d like to think that just by thinking about our own actions and our own impact we can evaluate how we are affecting others and the world around us, as well as how we are creating our own story and impacting the course of our own life. In my view, impact is also an inside job. Our thoughts, our words, our actions affect other people but most of all they affect us too. We make our own choices and it is said we create what we focus on. I am a firm believer in the ripple effect – who knows what the cumulative effect of hundreds or thousands of positive thoughts of acceptance, of gratitude, of love could be? If we are all connected, and I believe we are, this is my call to action: –

Let’s think every day about how we are impacting the world, ourselves and those around us,

Let’s be careful of our thoughts as well as our words and actions,

Let’s alter our fearful, judgemental, negative patterns and shift into conscious awareness of love and gratitude,

Let us accept each other for who we are, and

Let us Be!

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