Kindness: More Than a Choice
We've all heard it: "In a world where you can be anything, be kind."
If you look at the image of the earth above, you will notice, hopefully, that it is upside down. That's how I feel about our world right now - it has been turned upside down!
Did you see this:
"Kenyan runner Abel Mutai was only a few meters from the finish line, but got confused with the signs and stopped, thinking he had finished the race. BA Spanish man, Ivan Fernandez, was right behind him and, realizing what was going on, started shouting to the Kenyan to keep running. Mutai did not know Spanish and did not understand.
Realizing what was going on, Fernandez pushed Mutai to victory.
A reporter asked Ivan, "Why did you do this?" Ivan replied, "My dream is that one day we can have some sort of community life where we push ourselves and also others to win."
The reporter insisted "But why did you let the Kenyan win?" Ivan replied, "I didn't let him win, he was going to win. The race was his."
The reporter insisted and asked again, "But you could have won!" Ivan looked at him and replied: "But what would be the merit of my victory? What would be the honor of this medal? What would my Mother think of it?" The values are transmitted from generation to generation. What values do we teach our children and how much do you inspire others to earn? Most of us take advantage of people's weaknesses instead of helping to strengthen them.
IN THIS NEW YEAR, I WANT EVERYONE OF US TO WIN; LET'S PUSH ONE ANOTHER TO THE FINISHING LINE. WE ALL DESERVE VICTORY." (Note 1)
I did not share that story on Facebook, well, I did, but not first to do so. It is one of the very few, very rare gems I've ever seen on Facebook. Note 1 will take you to the site where I believe it originated. Wanted to give credit where credit is due.
Hopefully, you have already seen this story. If not, please take a moment now and read it. Please read it from beginning to end.
Now, that is an incredible story about the best of the best in human nature. Until you get about half way. The sentence in about the middle that says, "The reporter insisted, 'But why did you let the Kenyan win?'"
My jaw and my heart dropped as I read that.
I can remember a time when acts if kindness and caring were the norm, not the unheard of.
What I actually commented with that post was "How sad that this even has to be explained to someone."
Just another example of how the world has been turned upside down.
Also, why this week's blog is about, well, kindness.
What, exactly, does kindness mean? Well, let me pull up my trusty, faithful friend Merriam-Webster.com:
"1 a: of a sympathetic or helpful nature was helped by a kind neighbor They were very kind to us.
b: of a forbearing nature : GENTLE kind treatment of animals
c: arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance a kind act a kind smile" (Note 2)
So, why has "kindness" become so rare? It's not like it costs anything!
Indeed, it is free! The only thing it might cost is the handful of seconds it takes to share a kindness. That's it!
If we begin to practice it daily, it becomes first nature to "sprinkle that stuff everywhere."
One of the benefits of freely tossing kindness around like confetti is the very true fact, it makes no mess that requires cleaning up!
Another benefit is that the act of tossing kindness around freely is we will never have any idea of how many others are touched each time we throw kindness like confetti.
To be honest and in pursuit of transparency, the first few times, it will be a conscious choice to choose kindness.
But, guess what? Before long, you will discover how much fun it is. That's right, being kind is truly fun!
It will quickly become second nature to look for "kindness opportunities."
You may even sidestep or take a different path just to find someone to be kind, too.
This is now my guiding principle: don't let me be the second one to toss out a kindness. That makes me feel like I am just trying to be like someone else if they beat me to it.
That might sound conceited. It's not, I don't think. I just don't want to open the door to missing a kindness moment.
Random Acts are the bomb! They are the most fun one can possibly have! The opportunities are ALWAYS there and are ALWAYS all around us.
We just need to learn to look for, and to be open to them.
Hint: Drive-thrus are perfect random acts waiting to happen. If you can afford it, "pay it forward" by buying the food for the car behind you!
Want to double the fun? Try for a two-fer. Buy for the two cars behind you.
Yes, I am aware we have already discussed this. I just do not want you to forget it won't cost you anything, but oh, what it gives back to you is worth more than gold!
Yes, they do. They also forget that kindness can be extended to our furry and feathered friends, too!
This is another "I can't believe this is even necessary." Yet, it is.
Growing up the shyest of the shy, and the biggest introvert around, it felt like death falling upon me when I had the opportunity to throw some of that kindness confetti around.
Oh yes, it did!
Soon, though, the joy and fun that comes of it took away the fear. Or, at least, made it seem insignificant.
Hey, did you even know there is such a thing as "World Kindness Day?"
I admit it, I didn't.
Yet, it's "been a thing" since 1998.
So, make sure you mark November 13 on your calendar. And, start stacking up ideas and people you want to shower with kindness that day!
My list has already begun...
That! Yes, that right there is one of the easiest and simplest ways to ALWAYS throw some kindness confetti.
If you could ever listen to my phone calls at work - but you can't - you would hear that, I think, in just about all my calls. At some point.
And, I try NOT to confine that just to the telephone.
I say it in stores to clerks, when pumping gas and paying for it, when picking up groceries, when someone allows me to open the door for them, when I cross paths with someone and have the privilege to at least speak to them.
Think about it: how do YOU feel when someone tells you that YOU are awesome. Even more, that their voice conveys the sincerity of it to you.
Guess what? It's FREE!!
There will be someone who won't appreciate your effort, but it is still not wasted. At least some seeds were planted.
Or, just maybe, someone else in the vicinity just needed to see an act of kindness.
We never know about those seeds we plant, do we?
Donating is a fantastic way to spread kindness confetti!
It doesn't always have to be money, dollars, moola! No, indeed.
It can be time.
It can be food.
It can be your time, as in giving someone a ride to the store, opening the door, helping with homework, reading to those who cannot see, and on and on and on...
We may never actually see how deeply or how far our confetti of kindness has gone or how many have been touched by it.
In fact, that is MY main goal. I want it to keep going forward. It's not necessary to come back to me.
Yes! Yes!! YES!!!
Oh, boy! Nail. Head. Amen!
Someone, perhaps me, was feeling a bit low this morning. And then, my car veered into one of my favorite breakfast drive-thrus.
Yes, it did that all on it's own. LOL!
I hit the jackpot! I got my own food.
But, I got my blessing, too, by being able to get that two-fer mentioned above.
I am NOT making light of this point. It is true!
So, if you need a mood elevator, some sunshine on a rainy day, or a feel good moment, lift someone else up!
There are plenty of tips above and below to motivate, right?
This one is brought to mind by an incident in one of the many places I have lived and/or been stationed.
Someone was talking about the snow, icy sidewalks, etc., and mentioned how some people saw someone slip and fall and no one (NO ONE) stopped to help them up!
What the heck!!
We have all been there or will be some day. Remember that and take a moment out of your own self-centered day to help someone up.
I promise, they didn't fall on purpose, nor did they plan to fall in front of you.
So don't feel special. Just embrace the moment and help!
That kindness may come back to you if you slip five feet further on down the sidewalk...
This looks a bit like a couple of suggestions above. But, it's not.
Have you ever considered that single parent with children living next door?
Or a co-workers in the same boat?
Or your neighborhood school is asking for volunteers?
Guess what? You can spend time with someone who needs help reading, or with math, or finance, or just an adult to talk to.
There goes more confetti!!
Hey, lookie here, a two-fer!
To me, this could be a chance to, metaphorically, lift someone up. There are many ways above to do that.
It also may mean someone needs a literal lift. Maybe help tossing and/or catching a ball, someone to hit tennis balls with, someone to just walk around the block with.
SO many opportunities, so little time!
But, don't make yourself the center of attention with this one.
Do it silently, by just tossing the confetti.
I promise, someone will see, someone will be touched, someone will pass it on.
No words required. Just toss that confetti around!
Don't keep a scorecard. Just try to go above and beyond in some way.
Maybe you can add a hug to those kind words.
Maybe you can help someone up and then help them carry their groceries to their car!
There is ALWAYS a way to be just a bit kinder, don't you think?
It does. It makes you just as beautiful inside as you are on the outside.
Thank you for taking the time to visit this simple site and blog.
Thank you for being the most awesome, incredible, and beautiful person I will be able to reach today.
Now, grab that bag of confetti and get busy spreading it around!