On Random Acts of Kindness
Examining Random Acts of Kindness
A post on Random Acts of Kindness was great stuff encouraging hubbers to get busy with kind acts toward others as it encouraged them to write about their experiences. I thought I would just leave a little “bravo” note in the hub's comments, but was surprised to realize that I had more to say on the topic than should go in a comments section.
It caused me to give some real thought to the idea of putting a hub together for thinking this topic through is a good thing. There was nothing to do then but get busy and write a hub on living out the concepts of kindness.
Picking up the gauntlet was the appropriate action. Motivated, I had to put the fingers to the keyboard. My course was set, all I had to do was get in motion mode. But am I sure–do I really have much to say about it? After all, I've failed many times to show kindness when I should have.
Kindness Can Work, but Sometimes it Takes Time
Last year I began to encounter a "hard" woman working the check-out at a business I visited on a semi-regular basis. I determined to be friendly to her, thinking she must have a sad history and life, but she seemed so angry it was almost scary.
It took a long time, months actually. She started to recognize me, first smiling back, and finally she interacted with me in a friendly way the last time I was there. I’m not sure that counted as random in the end, but it was motivation for me to think more about random acts of kindness rather than just focusing on my own doings when I am out and about.
One of my favorite methods is to smile directly at little ones trapped in shopping carts while parents are absently on their cell phones. Poor little things, waiting, tired, but worst of all, pitifully lonely. Seeing their eyes light up when this grandmama winks or waves at them in passing is well worth the few seconds it takes to focus on them. They nearly always brighten up and sometimes respond shyly or playfully. They are so cute that I can’t help but smile even more.
On top of that, an added benefit (that really is the most important one if it happens) is that the commotion often causes the parents to focus on their little ones. They see me smile and they smile at their child. A good thing indeed. That if I am kind to the little ones I can sometimes make that happen is amazing. It's a wonderful thing to be a part of that!
On the other end of the spectrum, I am forced to visit a sad nursing home each week. It’s all out of my control and I do not like seeing what I see there. However, as I am able I try to just speak to the folks trapped there.
Whatever the reason for them being there–sometimes it’s their own lifestyle that put them there, sometimes it’s just because we live in a fallen world and health issues are out of our control, and sometimes it’s neglect by family members (very interesting to start seeing each situation for what it really is)–but whatever the reason, why not brighten their day with a kind hello that isn't rushed by them so fast they miss it?
To see sagging heads and hearts lifted by such a simple kindness is tragic stuff. How can I not begin to learn their names so I can speak more personally to them? Even though it is difficult to face them, why not do what little I can to make them smile since I have to go there? Seems like a small thing, but in the face of their suffering it is not as easy as one might think.
And isn't it the case that we usually have to be where ever we are? Sure, we get some down time, but otherwise we’re doing what we need to do, right? So why not do small things to brighten the days of the people we meet? We live in a world full of hurting people. Most go to school or work and set their fears, their concerns, their painful memories or heart-rending circumstances aside in order to focus on tasks at hand. Why not take the time be kind to everyone?
In the Home
Can a look at this topic be complete without mentioning that families are responsible to teach children how to show kindness to others? It takes knowledge and effort to help children understand the difference between a show of kindness and sincere kindness.
It's important to be polite but there is a difference in just being polite and showing true kindness. Balance is important, so children also need wisdom to know that they need to be careful of a number of issues that could come up when dealing with people.
But showing simple kindness from the heart as we go through our daily lives is something we can help our children understand. My grandchildren have a better chance to learn kindness than I did, and my prayer is that their children will have an even better grip on the concepts of true kindness.
On Kindly Serving Others:
As a Christian I am reminded of our instruction in Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; ... to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (ESV).
For me as a believer (John 3:16, John 14:6, ActsOfTheWord.com), the admonishment of Micah 6:8 and consequent blessings go far beyond what will naturally come as a result of my being kind to strangers.
I only wish I could say that I have always done so. I think I’ll try to make up for those times in this new year. Could this be the year of random kindnesses for each of us?
Oh! I can’t end there! Let me see...as a kindness to you I found this video for your pleasure. I hope it makes you smile and I hope that you are encouraged to begin something important where ever you are at.
Happy “random kindnessing” to you in the coming new year!
A 2nd Grade Kindness Project:
Kindness Gives Us A Glad Heart!
- How Random Acts of Kindness Can Improve Your Quality of Life
Either way, its a win-win situation. Try it, not because you want to see what happens, but just because its a nice thing to do.
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Our children need to be taught to be kind, but they also need to be taught wisdom.
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