Are You Good?
If you ever watched the television sitcom “Friends”, you know that one of the hallmark phrases was the character Joey asking: “How you doin’?” Using the character’s Italian ethnicity, the phrase was a take-off on several phrases considered to be typical “New Yorker speak”. Others include “You talkin’ ta me?” and the equally popular “Fogeddaboddit!” Today the Wendy Williams daily show has claimed the phrase that made the character of Joey on Friends so recognizable as its own tagline but all New Yorkers know that they owned the saying long before television.
Foreign exchange students quickly learn that when someone in the United States asks “How are you?” or attempts to impersonate the Friends’ character Joey by asking “How you doin’?”, they really don’t want an honest answer. These phrases are used more as a means of saying “Hello!” than as an honest inquiry into someone’s health, mental, emotional, or physical.
In many industrialized nations, it is seen as something of a lack in one’s character to have the time to ask how someone is doing in passing. It is almost as if taking the time to show care and concern means one is lacking as a professional. Long before Facebook created the ever popular moniker of “Friend”, industrialized nations had reduced the concept of friendship to passing acquaintance. What if we all made an ordinary greeting into something else? What if we all took one day to actually take the time to BE concerned about both our friends and acquaintances, maybe even strangers?
Many will say that “How you doin’?” serves to ask two questions and perhaps it does. A popular greeting in English speaking countries is “How are you?” or “How are you doing?” Technically, these are two very different questions. The first is asking for a statement of one’s being or condition while that latter regards to condition of living or fortune. The first is about presence while that latter explains that presence.
What is, though, there was a day to improve both? There actually is. In 2007 Sharyn Arison launched what is known as Good Deeds Day. In 2007 seven thousand people in Israel took part in projects designed to improve conditions for others. That number grew to twelve thousand the next year and twenty thousand in two years. IN three years they had seventy thousand volunteers and that number doubled the next year with four countries participating. In 2012 the idea of Good Deeds Day went global. Fifty countries and a quarter of a million people strong participated.
This year one million and five hundred thousand people in seventy-five countries did something for others on Good Deeds Day. Why? “I believe that if people will think good, speak good and do good, the circles of goodness will grow in the world. Good Deeds Day has become the leading day of giving and this year individuals, school children, students, soldiers and employees from many businesses are joining in for the annual Good Deeds Day with the aim of doing a good deed for others,” says Shari Arison.
In two hundred and nine-four days it will be April 2, 2017 (give or take a few days because this post has been delayed due to our week vigil for the Orlando victims.) On that day, the world will once again come together for Good Deeds Day. People just like you will come together to do something nice for someone else. Large or small, two people or two hundred people – the size of the project doesn’t matter. The fact that someone is doing something does.
Former projects in the USA have included clothing donations, shoe donations, cleaning up local cemeteries, presenting a program at a nursing home, writing letter to and for the elderly…the list goes on. There is something you can do. For project ideas, go to www.good-deeds-day.org/projects. The website will not only give you ideas, it will walk you through how to make that idea into a reality. Turn this ordinary time into something extraordinary but planning to do good on April 2nd, 2017. In fact, start practicing now and do something for someone else. That way, next time someone asks “Are you good?” you can give a resounding “You bet I am!”