Dolly Parton is the gift that keeps on giving.

By Melissa Locker
December 29, 2020
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When it comes to doling out inspirational life advice, Dolly Parton never disappoints. While 2020 has been a challenging year, the Smoky Mountain songbird—and Southerner of the Year—still managed to spread some good cheer and good wishes with the world, proving once again that she chooses to live her life as a positive role model for others. Parton told Southern Living, that while she is not always happy—no one is—she “was born with a happy heart” and is “always looking for things to be better.” That positive mental attitude is a valuable goal at any time, but especially in a year as difficult as 2020.

Here are a few other things that we learned from Miss Dolly Parton this year:

Always give back.

As the coronavirus pandemic has continued its rampage across the country shuttering businesses and filling hospitals, Dolly’s beloved theme park Dollywood, has given local first responders and staff at East Tennessee Children's Hospital much-needed protective supplies. The country star also committed $1 million to help advance coronavirus research at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Dolly not only gave money, but she also donated something even more valuable—her time. She started a weekly video series reading books to children to give parents a much-needed break from entertaining the kids.

Remember there’s always more to the story

Despite having been in the spotlight for over 60 years, there are always more to learn about the Queen of Country. Not only is there a new book called, She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Lived Her Songs, which looks back at Dolly’s life and career, but there’s a new television biography, too. Not to be outdone, Dolly herself has more stories to share with a very grateful world. This year, she released a new book called Songteller, filled with never-before-heard stories behind the songs, along with never-before-seen pictures and handwritten lyrics. In addition to that very gift-able book, she is also sharing her Dollyisms on social media, imparting her words of wisdom and words to live by with us all. It’s a good reminder to look back at your own life and share stories with your own family.

Find a guiding light (or two)

When Dolly sat down with TODAY show anchor Hoda Kotb she was asked, "What's your beacon of light?" and Dolly revealed that she had two quotes that have been helping her through this trying year. The first was a Bible verse, that through "God all things are possible." "I always thought that was a good scripture...even when I feel weak within myself, I think that through God 'I can do this. All things are possible," Parton told Kotb. The other was a line from the 1933 inaugural address of Franklin D. Roosevelt: "There's nothing to fear but fear itself." For Dolly, that line has reminded her to push past fear to better help others. "You can't help yourself or you can't help anyone else if you're scared to death," she told Kotb. "You kinda gotta work on through that and ask God to strengthen you."

Spread joy wherever and whenever you can

While people were hunkering down at home, Dolly decided to do something to cheer us all up—she released a ton of her classic songs on streaming platforms. In our opinion, there is no better way to pass through a pandemic than at home listening to Dolly Parton: Complete Collection. Plus, there’s her new Christmas collection with Williams Sonoma and what spreads joy faster than Christmas cookies? And did we mention that she has been reading bedtime stories to kids?  Goodnight with Dolly  is a special series of videos featuring everyone’s favorite Book Lady reading selections from the Imagination Library. “This is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while, but the timing never felt quite right,” Parton said when announcing the series. “I think it is pretty clear that now is the time to share a story and to share some love.” As Dolly reminds us, it’s always a good time to share a little love.