Have you noticed how many of those ‘random acts of kindness’ posts pop up in social media lately? Maybe it’s the times. The pandemic has given us a need to reach out to anyone, even random strangers. And anything that gets people to think about being kind to one another is a good thing.
But, if you’re like me, the ‘hey, look at me. I was kind to someone today’ mentality gets a bit worn after a while. You know, it is entirely possible to be kind to people without the need to crow about it. Paying for some stranger’s food at the drive-thru is kindness. Shouting about it to random people on the internet is self-promotion.
Kindness isn’t an act, and in my experience, it’s seldom random. Kindness is carried out by kind people. For them, it is a way of life, a way of thinking about the world around them. They don’t think about being kind; they just are.
“BE KIND WHENEVER POSSIBLE. IT IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE”
Don’t get me wrong. I think anything that gets people to think about being kind to one another is a good thing. There is even a web site dedicated to it.
I even put the thought, Be Kind, at the top of my daily productivity system, between Think and Do the Right Thing. Because for me, I have to remind myself sometimes to do these simple things. And like any other thing, the more you practice it, the better you become at it.
Since the pandemic started, our community has carried out a drive for our local food bank. Every week, a few of us carry two to three trunk loads of food we have collected up to the food bank. But this process got my wife to think about the less fortunate we see around us all the time, not just the faceless crowd waiting in line for groceries at The Place.
The Latinos waiting for work at a nearby empty lot. The old guy we see walking down the highway almost every day. So, in addition to the food we donate to the food drive, she has me store a couple of bags of groceries in the trunk. Every few days, I hear a shout of, “Pull over!” She hops out to hand out some food. She is a kind person.
She has to be to tolerate me.
I have spoken at length about this wonderful community we became a part of a few years ago. Acts of kindness here are rampant, not random.
But even in a group such as this, there are standouts.
One woman, with the help of several others, has been making masks every day for six months. Every day for six months. She has made well over 1,000 masks for local hospitals and first responders. Her devotion and kindness amaze me. I recall before all this started, she was someone I wanted to emulate. Now, I don’t think I can, but I can try. I can hope.
One couple, in particular, comes to mind. They are constantly thinking of ways they can help the community. Things that are needed just show up one day, and I know where they came from. We hear about a neighbor that is sick or going through a rough patch. We all start talking about what we can do to help. This couple just helps. I see their car parked outside random houses a few times a week.
They are the kindest people I have ever met.
They fill me with wonder and awe. I want to be more like them, and that is a good thing.
So, I challenge my readers out there. Don’t just think about ways you can show kindness. Just be kind. The acts will present themselves. If you do something kind for someone, do it because that is who you are, or who you want to be. Not because it gives you something to post on Facebook.
I have spent the last few years trying to be a kinder person. For me, it’s a struggle. I hope you are better at it. My wife is continuously chiding me to ‘Be Nice.’ And I’m getting better at it. Being nice is, well, nice. I could get used to it. Just don’t ask me to smile simultaneously, that’s too much of a stretch.
As you go through your day, you don’t need to think about random acts of kindness. Just do one thing.