Since November 2011, the Bahamas Friendship Council has been coordinating The BahamasNational Friendship Day on the fourth Wednesday of November each year. This day was designed to rekindle or cultivate and inspire long-term friendship relationships among the citizens and residents of The Bahamas. It is another avenue to rejuvenate a spirit of togetherness, respect for one another, unity, and healthy national pride.
With all the tragedy and pain being experienced in our country today, it is imperative that National Friendship Day serve as a reminder to care for and respect one another, no matter the race, nationality, socioeconomic standard, education or position in society. Hence, the theme for National Friendship Day on November 23 this year is “Say Hello to Someone Today”.
I was impressed to use this theme after watching a video this week about the experience of a noted forensic psychologist whose responsibility was to find out why people would jump off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, USA, to kill themselves. The forensic psychologist had responded to hundreds of these suicides. But one stood out in his mind.
Most people who killed themselves this way would leave a note behind. Reading them became routine for the psychologist. But one note left behind on the person’s bedroom dresser shocked him. The note read: “I am walking to the bridge now. If one person stops me on the way and says ‘hello’ I am turning around and coming home.” There are many hurting in our country, and you can be the one to make a difference in that person’s life. With the simple word “hello”, you can be the one to save a person’s life or to add meaning and purpose to that person. Therefore, we are promoting “Say Hello to Someone Today” as the action theme for this year’s National Friendship Day. However, you do not have to wait until November to say hello. You can start now.
Not everyone who feels hopeless or down in the dumps will kill themselves. However, they do not have the get-up-and-go in their lives. They believe that they do not have anything valuable to present to the world. They feel worthless and foolish. Then, there are many who are angry and vengeful. One of the reasons is that no one or very few people made them feel important. They also might have witnessed anger and violence and were ashamed more than praised most of their lives. When people look at them, they can only see eyes beaming with disgust penetrating their souls. They want to run away from those piercing eyes, or they become angrier and more furious. Why not stop those judging looks and simply say hello with a smile on your face? Let your voice touch the inner soul of that wounded person.
I love calling people on the phone just to say hello. I would tell them that I am just calling to say hello and to let our voices touch and also to let them know I am thinking about them. Each time I do that it has been a meaningful experience.
Let us make National Friendship Day 2022 a purposeful experience in our little nation. We can start now. I am wishing that every merchant store promotes “Say Hello to Someone Today” and do something to reach out to the rejected and wounded. I am encouraging every educational institution on every level to be creative in promoting this day and the theme. I will be thrilled if every church would have a National Friendship Day service and fellowship meal for their neighbors and members together. I would be delighted if every youth group – The Boys and Girls Brigades, Pathfinders, Awana, etc. – participate in this cause. All of these organizations can visit www.soencouragement.org/friendshipday to download the national friendship anthem and pledge.
However, let’s not wait until November. Let us begin now by saying hello to someone and being kind and respectful. Utilize the upcoming holidays to do something special for someone. Make every day in your life a good day for someone else, too.
I invite every resident of the country to participate – Bahamian citizens, permanent residents, Haitians, Jamaicans, Philippines, Germans, Americans, Canadians, Barbadians, Nigerians, South Africans, Chinese, British, French, Indians, Greeks, Italians, Bermudians, and a whole lot more. Say hello to someone today.