Friday, April 06, 2012

Kindness Can Change the World

The next couple of days will be all about filling pastel baskets with green plastic grass, dyed eggs, chocolate bunnies, Peeps, and Cadbury Eggs.  Families will drive distances to gather together for ham dinners to celebrate the Christian holiday that symbolizes new life and hope.

Besides all the hoopla tradition tells us to do, we need to be kind, respectful, polite, and courteous to one another.  This is far more important than the food we serve or the size of the baskets we give the kids.  

The other day we were going into a Kohl's Store.  My hubby opened the door for two ladies who were probably in their 70's.  The one lady looked at me and said, "Your husband just opened the door for us.  You'd better hang on to him tight, cuz someday you won't have him."

Well, hubby opening the door for a lady is not something out of the ordinary.  He is from the old school of manners, and he believes the lady should go first and the door be opened for her.  But, to the two ladies, he performed a random act of kindness that brought back the sweet feeling of a man opening the door for them.

Wouldn't it be a good thing if each one of us tried to incorporate random kindnesses into our schedules?  Here are some ideas.....

  • Smile at 5 strangers.  You don't have to say a word.  Just smile.  Take note of the other person's response.  They may not smile back, and that's okay.  That says they are troubled, and your smile may be exactly what they needed to receive.
  • When shopping and standing in the check-out lane, take time to visit with the employee who is helping you.  These employees usually hear only customer complaints and are accused of over-charging or putting stuff in the wrong sack.  If you do discover a mistake, call it to their attention in a concerned and cordial manner.  Human respect is something we see trickling down the drain, and that will hurt our society more than the recession.
  • Say "Bless You" to someone who sneezes, regardless of whether or not you know them.
  • Show affection.  All it takes is a hug, a touch on the arm, a kiss on the cheek, or a squeeze of the shoulders to make someone's day.  
  • We are all fighting a battle.  The least we can do for each other is to look for the good and not whine about the bad.  Unkind criticisms are destructive and have no place in our social settings.   
  • Call a grandparent, aunt, or uncle.  Let them know you are thinking about them.  The older we get, the less we are remembered. 
  • Write a handwritten thank-you note when someone does something nice for you.  A person's heart almost skips a beat when we see our name written on an envelope that's waiting in the mail box.  A handwritten note means someone bought a card, signed it with a personal note, got our address and wrote it on the envelope, bought and attached a stamp, and took it to a mail depository.  That's old-fashioned politeness at its finest.  I myself am guilty of taking the easy route with email and sending e-cards.   
  • Share garden produce with a neighbor.  Instead of letting vegetables go to waste, offer them to those who aren't able to plant their own garden.  
  • Be kind to Mother Nature and plant a tree.  We forget the importance of trees.  They help control the climate, filter the air we breathe, protect us from weather and create a natural, beautiful environment.  It makes me so sad to watch how many trees are being cruelly ripped from our country landscapes, with no human thought given to the harm being done.  Let us please plant trees.   
  • Thank your parents, your children, and anyone else who has helped you in the past. If someone has made a significant difference in your life, surprise them with a card or a letter.  Let them know you appreciate them.
  • Cook and deliver a meal to someone in need.  Casseroles are easy to transport and are comfort foods sure to make a dent in someone's heart.   
  • If a friend talks, listen to what he/she is saying.  Nothing hurts worse than someone who truly isn't listening to what we have to say.  
  • In the check-out lane, offer to let the person behind you go first.  They may decline the offer, but that's a way for them to return your kindness.