Message offers encouragement

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One of those phrases that saw growing use in the past year was “pay it forward.” It’s the spirit of giving and the idea that generosity can be infectious.

In his year-end message to Canadians, Governor General David Johnston is calling on people to capture that spirit by discovering your “giving moment.” Johnston is urging people to give of their time, talent or even wealth to help build a stronger country.

He said no matter whether it’s a large contribution or a small one, everyone has something they can give to help their communities. Sometimes it takes a bit of self-exploration to decide what that talent might be.

This is a time of year marked by giving – in more than one sense. With Christmas just past, people have very much been caught up in gift giving, and one of the more hectic times for shopping.

But we’re also heading into a new year, and that’s what the Governor General wants people to think about as far as intentions go to make Canada what he describes as a smarter, more caring nation. The new year offers people a psychological blank slate of possibilities, to act on good intentions.

In the Maritimes, it’s often been noted that the sense of volunteerism and work within and for the community is strong. The willingness to donate to worthy causes is also well pronounced.

Johnston noted the grand, widespread response to various tragedies in the country over the past year: such as flooding in Alberta and the massive train derailment in Lac Megantic, Que. People are willing to pitch in and help – even when it’s not the community next door – in such instances as these.

Doubtless many challenges will meet us in the coming year – always made easier to face the more shoulders are put to the job.

This isn’t exactly the typical message we expect to hear from our leaders. But it is one of encouragement and of great simplicity – the idea of small change in everyone translating upon wide assembly into great change.

Geographic location: Canada, Alberta, Lac Megantic, Que

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