Monday Mitzvahs: Little Things Mean a Lot

Vera Kratochvil

Years ago, I worked for one of the Sheraton resorts during a time when they were working on getting their “fifth star”  (a prestigious hotel rating).  They had a motto, “little things mean a lot”.  As a hotel operator, it mean going the extra mile, being as polite as possible, and smiling.  They say you can hear a smile through the phone (do you think that is true?).

Honestly, that was one of my favorite jobs, I really enjoyed it.  The phrase “little things mean a lot” has stuck with me over the years because it is so true…for individuals as well as resorts.  Recently, I posted about how inspired I was by Linda Cohen’s experience and book 1,000 Mitzvahs.  She challenged others to try it…1,000 acts of service.

I decided to take up her challenge and invited you to join me.  Some of you did, thank you!  For you this blog post is a reminder.  Some of you haven’t taken the challenge yet and I imagine that it is because you are thinking that you don’t have enough time to take on one more thing.  If that is the case, then I have good news for you…acts of kindness do not have to be big, or time-consuming to bless lives (YOURS and the person you help!)  This challenge is particularly for my fellow survivors, it may be hard to believe now, but doing small acts of kindness is healing.

The hardest thing for me so far is asking myself, can I really count that?  I have a journal where I am keeping track of my Mitzvahs…simply to keep track so I will know when I have reached 1000…and to keep me from forgetting my goal.  The latter being the more important!

Here is an example.  I have decided it counts.  Linda talks about debating with her husband about whether changing a roll of toilet paper in a public bathroom counted, and they decided it did!  You can read about it in her book.  Here’s my “roll of toilet paper” moment.

My daughter and I went to the store, and we got a cart because we planned to pick up several things.  Our first stop was looking at some fabric.  While we were trying to decide, an older gentleman, with his arms full of items stopped and said, “Hey can I have this cart you aren’t using?”

My first thought was, “I AM going to use it.”  But then I smiled and said, “Of course, I was just saving it for you.”  Later as my daughter and I were walking to the register with OUR arms full, I told her, “I should have kept the cart and told him ‘Go away, we don’t talk to strangers!’”….she gave me that “you’re weird Mom” look that teenagers are well-known for because she knew I didn’t mean it.

The truth of it is giving that gentleman my cart (that I did in fact need myself) gave me such a great feeling.  It was a little thing for me to do…a really little thing, but it made me feel good.  Give it a try.  Today try to do a small tiny act of kindness for someone else.  Something so small you wonder if it really even counts, and see if it doesn’t bring a smile to your face!

Photo attribution: Vera KratochvilMonday Mitzvahs was inspired by Linda Cohen and her book 1000 Mitzvahs.  You can learn more about her here on facebook.  Or read her book!



  1. Knowing that I can contribute forces me to admit that I am not completely broken.I can only imagine how wonderful Heavenly Father, the doer of millions of kindnesses every "day", feels.A perfect article and wonderful gift to any who will read it, Leslie! RRM

  2. It always amazes me how just tiny things make good! the other day we were driving to bellingham in our new big truck… i say this because it is big and we sit up high. i made it a goal to smile at every person i could for several miles, just to see. only one guy gave me that "you weirdo" look. everyone else smiled back. glad to catch up with you! Cathy

  3. I know that this was not the main part of your post, but it was my favorite part because it was so perfectly described and added to the overall picture of the experience–the look your teenage daughter gave you. What a great example you were to her that day!

    I just stumbled on your blog (clicked your name from comments on another blog), but I really enjoy this and the more recent “Monday Mitzvah” posts.

    Kate @ BJJ, Law, and Living

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