It’s February 29! An event that appears on our calendars only once every four years. The first thing that comes to my mind today is the joy all those born on this day must feel. Image only really getting to celebrate your birthday every four years. Bummer!
My mind also jumps quickly to the play The Pirates of Penzance. Yes, The Pirates of Penzance.
In the Gilbert and Sullivan opera, Frederic’s apprenticeship was worded so as to bind him until his twenty-first birthday – and, because that birthday happens to be on 29 February (in a leap year), it means that technically only five birthdays have passed (“When you had left our pirate fold”), and he will not reach his twenty-first birthday until he is in his eighties. (Thanks Wiki)
However, the day has evolved in a “Day of Kindness.”
Press releases are popping up all over the place. In businesses. In schools. Many Chamber of Commerce organizations have jumped on board as well.
Most start of stating something like this:
All across the nation, dozens of organizations and hundreds of individuals will be doing something kind for someone else to celebrate #leapofkindnessday. 2016 is a Leap Year. We all get one extra day, on Monday, February 29th to make a difference!
Today, I received an unexpected Act of Kindness.
This morning, after my wife and I dropped our eldest off at school, we ran a few errands. At our last stop, I stayed in the car with our youngest while she went inside. I left the car running to keep us both warm. Suddenly, the car engine alarm pinged as the engine temperature gauge pointed to “High”!
I shut off the car and opened the hood to let the engine cool while me and my little one continued to wait for mom. Suddenly, a black pickup truck pulled next to us in the parking-lot. Seconds later, there was a knock on my window and I jumped.
It reminded me of a scene in my book, Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, when the Master salesman, Mr. Mel, startled me in the parking-lot as I rocked out in my car. This time, however, instead of I Believe I Can Fly it was Veggie Tales. (Wow, how times have changed.)
“Do you need jumper cables,” the gentleman asked.
“It’s not the battery,” I explained. “The car just over-heated while we were idling. I think I have to fix the fan again.”
He nodded and strolled off. I expected him to go inside the bank. However, he hoped back inside this truck and drove away. Wow, I thought, he must have saw my hood up from the street and pulled in — just for me!
That’s what this day is all about. In Corporation YOU, there are many similar stories. During on of his many lessons, the master-salesman, Mr. Mel, explains his “plan” this way:
“I teach you my business plan,” he told me as he drew an arrow down from his circle to my Corporation YOU. “Then, you teach my business plan to others. You help other people learn and grow. As they grow, you also grow.”
The purpose of this day is to help others. When you help others “you also grow.” You also “teach others” how to treat others. The hope is that this one day becomes movement! A movement that is contagious and addictive. A movement that starts to take root everyday!
Oddly enough, there was one place I didn’t see any notice of “Leap Day” — my Church.
Then, I thought: It’s because the Church was founded by an act of kindness that occurred over 2,000 years ago — an act that started a movement that taught that every day was made for Acts of Kindness.
Maybe the reason why February 29 has become a day for acts of kindness, is because the people of this original “Kindness Movement” have dropped the ball the other 1,459 days in between Leap Days?
If this doesn’t apply to you, great! But if it does, here’s 17 verses about Kindness to help you get back on track!
For you music fans, enjoy The Pirates of Penzance’s Paradox of Leap Year.
James Henry is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com