“I’ve learned that a kindness done is never lost. It may take a while, but like a suitcase on a luggage carousel, it will return again.”
What is it about kindness that makes us feel so good? Not just when somebody is kind to us, but also when we show kindness to others. It’s an expression of ourselves to others that elevates the atmosphere around us. Kindness leaves you feeling warm and cared for and who doesn’t like that feeling??
Wikipedia says that “Kindness is the act or the state of being kind, being marked by good and charitable behavior, pleasant disposition and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions.”
I think young children can be great teachers of kindness. Before they learn all of the fears and prejudices of the adults and older children around them, they have a capacity to interact with most anyone and leave them feeling loved. They are innately charitable and giving; dandelion bouquets, sloppy wet kisses, a soggy piece of cookie they want to share.
I remember my then 2-year-old son (now 22) showing his concern for me on the first day of Kindergarten for my daughter. We came home from putting her on the bus and my son, sensing my distress over this milestone, climbed up on my lap, patted my face and said, “Don’t worry Mommy. I’m still here with you.”
If young children can teach us about charity (unlimited love and kindness) and concern for others, dogs have to be the best creature on earth to teach us about having a pleasant disposition. While there are some dogs that this does not apply to, all of the dogs that have been a part of my life have embodied this spirit.
No other creature that I have encountered has the capacity to always be happy to see you; it doesn’t matter if you have been gone for 5 minutes or 5 days, a dog will greet you with a wagging tail and, I swear, a smile on their face. They don’t hold grudges, they don’t treat you differently when you are having a bad day and they accept whatever attention you are willing to lavish on them.
We have many opportunities everyday to show kindness to others. I have never had a kindness rebuffed though I guess sometimes it does happen. Most often, you get a smile and a thank-you when you take the time to pay somebody a kindness.
I go through periods of time when I make a concerted effort to perform random acts of kindness and it truly leaves me feeling happy. Just helping somebody with a door into a building or giving up your seat on the bus or subway can make not only your day, but theirs as well.
I remember standing in line waiting to get a coffee at Starbucks one day around the holidays. They were having a ‘buy one get one’ deal and though I only needed one coffee, I decided to offer the free one to the gentleman behind me. It pleased him very much. It not only made for a nice moment in my day but his as well. And as an added bonus, the lady who was standing there waiting for her order to be finished smiled and said what a nice thing that had been to do; so it made her day better too. I think even the Starbucks employee smiled…..Wow, 4 smiles for one free coffee! That’s what I call a good return on investment!
And I don’t know what the ripple effect of that small gesture might have been. Perhaps by making the days of 3 others a little brighter, they in turn were able to pass it along to somebody they encountered later in their day. And if a kindness is never lost, perhaps the next person who holds a door for me when I have my hands full is that ripple coming back to me.
I think it’s time to begin another random act of kindness campaign! I’m going to work on that this week. How about you? Please come back and share what it is that you did for someone else this week and let’s create some ripples! (You can start by passing this post along after you read it!)
On the journey with you…….Kathy
(Quote: Age 77- The Complete Live and Learn and Pass It On, by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)