It Takes So Little


By:Suzanne Reisler Litwin

The other day, my brother called me to say that he did a very “Suzie Thang”. A what thang? A…Suzie Thang!  This is my southern belle accent coming through primarily due to my crazy love for Elvis. I use a lot of words like kinda, wanna, thang, likin, lovin, burin, rollin, hun, etc. Ya get the picture, Dawlin?

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He was referring to the particular “thangs”, which I do to make people feel special.  If I happen to be at a café, I will make a point to compliment the server.  Something like, “Thank you. You did a great job today.”  Recently, I was at the checkout counter at a grocery store.  My grocery order was big and the checkout clerk was new.  She was struggling to learn her job.  Instead of going into a faster lane, I stayed and watched as she was being trained.  When she finished checking out my items, I told her that she did a super job and she should be proud.  She smiled and thanked me again.  I’m sure it was her first day.  First days of anything are super tough. Sometimes, they are just plain awful!

The first day I stood up in front of a classroom of children, I was shaking!  I threw up after that first class.  The first day I conducted parent/teacher interviews I was terrified.  What was I going to say to the parents of children who were failing?  How was I going to explain that their child wasn’t behaving in my class? Were they going to be supportive or argumentative? Fear ran through my veins!screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-11-22-21-pm

The day I defended my Master thesis was also scary.  I invited my whole family to witness the defense.  What would have happen if the Professors were to reject my research project? Then what? The first day of being a Mother? I didn’t want to sleep in fear that I would awake without my child. The first day of living without my Father?   The first day of everything is scary.

The journey of “new” has to start somewhere and at some time.  I try to make new life experiences better and hopeful, especially for the newbies. 

What did my brother do?  He had ordered a coffee and a bagel at a drive thru.  When he got to the window he told the server that the flower in her hair was beautiful and it made her look so pretty.  She gave him a big smile.  Which gave him a wonderful feeling in his soul.  He told me that he was quite sure, she felt pretty after that compliment.  I agreed. Then he said, “It sometimes takes so little to make people so happy.” I double agreed.

For some people this is true. For others, sometimes it’s impossible to make them happy.  For those people, we need to try harder to help them find hope and happiness.

Last week, I was walking out the front of my home to get into my car.  A delivery man was just walking up my front door steps.  He told me that he had a package for me and I needed to sign for it.  I signed for it and he gave it to me.  I thanked him.  Just as he was turning around to walk down my front steps, he turned to face me and said, “You smell delicious.” Wow, that caught me off guard.  I thanked him and kinda blushed.  He went into his truck and I got into my car.  I paused before starting the ignition.

That felt AMAZING!  I felt so beautiful at that moment. I felt happy.  I felt wonderful about myself. I haven’t stopped thinking about what he said.  He chose the word, delicious.  I love that word. I kinda of love him for choosing that word.  It took so little to make me feel so…so…DELICIOUS!screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-11-22-22-pm

Does he tell this to all the women he meets? Possibly? It doesn’t matter to me.  He made me feel wonderful and I’m going to make someone else feel wonderful too.  So together we will praise it forward.

The truth is it takes so little to make people happy.  However, it does take an effort on our part and an appreciation for what people do.

The next time you go out, pay special attention to what people are doing. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are they doing their job well? If so, tell them you appreciate this.
  2. Does this person look particularly nice? If so, tell them they look good.
  3. Lately, did you say thank-you to a job well done? Do this more often.
  4. Did someone make you feel special? If so, make it your job to make someone else feel special. Praise it forward.
  5. Is there someone in need of your care? There are many people in need – just look around. Lend a hand.
  6. Have you made that call lately? “I just called to say, I love you” – Stevie Wonder
  7. Have you given a good hug lately? Hugs do wonders, give a bunch.
  8. Have you smiled big and bright today? Do it! NOW!
  9. Have you shared your food with someone? Sharing is caring.
  10. You know that it takes so little to make someone feel so wonderful… or even delicious!

Suzanne Reisler Litwin  is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper.   She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column Keeping it Real.  Please visit her website
  to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.