On Sunny Lane: Those Pesky PSAs


I like to listen to talk shows on the radio as I do my work around the house, or as I’m driving in my car.

However, I don’t like to hear the commercials and public service announcements that are sprinkled liberally throughout the broadcast.

In fact, one time I listened for an hour while watching the clock. I discovered that allowing for commercials, PSAs, and the news, the talk show garnered 26 minutes of broadcasting time.

The PSAs are especially annoying to me. I hear the same ones so many times I can almost repeat them, word for word. I feel like I’m being indoctrinated. Sometimes, I shut the radio off for a few minutes, in hopes of avoiding them, but I run the risk of missing valuable information from my talk show.

There is one PSA, however, that always gives me food for thought.

The narrator tells short clips of people who did things that inspired others and made the world a better place. They didn’t necessarily plan to do that. Maybe, they just did what they felt they wanted to do, or what they thought they had to do, but what they did made a mark on history.

At the end of the announcement, the man always asks, “What will YOU do to inspire others?”

I don’t think the announcer expects us to do big things or strive to become famous. I think he just wants us to focus on doing some little positive thing in a negative world.

When I was little, Mom would give me a little chore to do. When I would finish it, she would say, “That’s a good girl.” There are probably a lot of boys and girls who don’t hear that from their parents.

Of course, if she sent me to the store and I didn’t come back with exactly what she ordered, I heard different words. We won’t discuss that.

I have friends who send birthday cards to people they know—and get well and sympathy cards as the need arise.

Another friend says she smiles at people she sees while she is shopping—especially the grumpy-looking ones. She says they usually smile back. She thinks she may have lifted their spirits for a fleeting moment.

Sweetheart makes up silly stories with cashiers and clerks at local stores as we cash out, or with people standing in line with us. Sometimes, I hold my breath, wondering where the story will lead and how it will be accepted. He nearly always gets a laugh.

In the last couple of years, I have been especially sympathetic toward businesses that are short-staffed and begging for people to work for them. A couple of months ago, I ordered some business cards that thank people for working when others who can work choose not to. I hand them out to clerks at the stores, bank tellers, nurses, produce workers and other people I encounter who are working.

I don’t always wait around for people’s reactions, but I have never gotten a negative one. That is, except for my daughter and granddaughter. Go figure.

I think the announcer was just pointing out that we all need to encourage each other in whatever way is best for us. Perhaps, that will help to shine a light in a darkened world.

What are YOU doing to inspire others?


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