Thinking About Parenting

Being Kind to Others


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Being Kind to Others

Is Kindness Dead?

As a rule, I am an outgoing and enthusiastic person. I start my days thankful for what I do have rather than what I've yet to have or want. I am blessed and see that glass as MORE than half full.

Let me admit:

The news chips away at my positivity armor. 

*A 9-year-old girl was fatally shot in Chicago by a neighbor in front of her father after buying ice cream and riding her scooter, presumably because she was making too much noise.

*In New York, a 16-year-old girl is arrested for an alleged anti-Asian attack on the subway.

*Three men in Mongomery charged after they attacked a Black dockworker who was only doing his job.

That's only a few of the headlines making the news this week. Those stories bruise my spirit and make me wonder where did love, caring, and kindness go? They are not extinct, but the world could sure use a strong comeback of all three.

I've talked about faith, love, and forgiveness so I am switching my focus toward kindness and being kind. I do so in the hope that together we can bring kindness back.


Are you a kind person? 

How do you know?

A kind person is someone that has or shows a friendly, generous, helpful, and giving nature. Kind people are often great listeners, patient with those less fortunate, respectful of others, and slow to judge? They genuinely look for and are excited to find ways to make someone else's day.

Now are you a kind person?

Kind and nice are sometimes used interchangeably to describe a person's character, but there is a small difference. Nice typically refers to a person who is pleasant and polite in their interactions with others. A kind person is one who often gives of themselves to others or performs good and decent acts for others seeking nothing in return.

So, kindness, like love, is nothing unless it's shared.

A kind person DOES kind things. There is action involved. Thinking that the person who just fell and could use a helping hand doesn't equate to kindness until you walk over, reach out your hand, and help them up.

Kindness spreads good things to both the giver and receiver. It is like the energy bunny of gifts; it just keeps going and going and going.

Above what the recipient gains, being kind packs a punch for the giver:

According to Sharam Heshmat, Ph.D. in Psychology Today -

1. Acting kindly makes us feel good. It feels wonderful to do something useful for someone. The “helper's high” is the uplifting feeling that we experience after doing an act of kindness to others. The “helper’s high” shows up in our brain’s reward system. The experience is like consuming a piece of chocolate cake or having a pleasant surprise. It feels so good that the brain motivates us to do them again and again. As the proverb goes, it’s better to give than to receive. It makes you feel like your life is valuable.

2. Kindness is contagious. Kind acts can have a ripple effect—for example, giving a genuine compliment to a family member, friend, or colleague. When people receive kindness, they get an emotional boost and are more likely to help someone else. Just hearing that someone else has behaved kindly can motivate us to do the same.

3. Kindness makes you more attractive. Kind individuals may even be considered better-looking. In other words, being a kind person could make people perceive you as more attractive. We are biologically wired to be drawn to compassionate people.

4. Kindness has good effects in the workplace. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that kind people can be winners. Business leaders are increasingly placing kindness at the center of their strategies for success. They have found that taking a more compassionate approach to business, politics, and sports management brings positive results. Kindness can result in a more positive work environment and better employee performance. Employees who have kind bosses are more likely to stay at their company. Positive behavior can cascade through the workplace.

5. Kindness has health benefits. Kindness not only feels good, but it can also boost the giver’s well-being. Studies show that when people are kind, they have lower levels of stress hormones and their fight-or-flight response calms down. For instance, when we see the person thank us or smile back, our brain releases oxytocin, the feel-good bonding hormone, which can increase trust and reduce fear and anxiety. Research also shows that giving directly to a person rather than contributing online seems to better unlock these emotional rewards. For example, taking a friend out to dinner rather than sending them a meal offers an opportunity for social connectedness that’s particularly beneficial.

Kindness is a win-win. It makes them feel good and you feel good. Why do we not see more acts of kindness? Some of it is environmental (whether we have witnessed kindness), and some of it is fear of the act being rejected, but sometimes we just overthink it.

Start with one act of kindness

There is no act of kindness that is too small. They tend to snowball and add up beyond what we could predict or hope for. Kindness is kindness. The act doesn't have to be something big or grand in nature. Even little genuine acts of kindness can turn someone's day completely around. 

"The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention."
- Oscar Wilde

Every February 17th in the United States is Random Acts of Kindness Day. 

It is meant to celebrate and encourage random acts of kindness and encourages acts of altruism, kindness, community service, benevolence, and all-around charitable deeds.

I challenge you to commit to at least one random act of kindness every day. Why wait? The benefits are too great. There is no act too small to reject and no time like now to start.

Do you need a kick-start? How about a little inspiration to set you on the right path? I am going to give you some examples of kind acts as well as some quotes and verses that will ignite your kindness spirit.

Random Acts of Kindness

1. Smile at someone

2. Offer a hug

3. Give directions to someone who is lost

4. Help a neighbor bring in their groceries

5. Give a flower to a stranger

6. Help clean up, without being asked

7. Stop and listen intently to someone who wants to be heard

8. Shovel snow off the sidewalk for a neighbor or neighbors

9. Address your cashier, waiter, or other service professional by their first name

10. Leave a positive review online for one of your favorite restaurants

11. Give someone a compliment

12. Hold the door open for the person behind you

13. Send someone a kind or uplifting text

14. Donate food to a food drive or shelter

15. Handwrite a note to your kids listing the things you love about them

16. Donate used books to schools, libraries, or shelters

17. Leave a generous tip when dining out

18. Tell a neighbor how nice their yard looks

19. Slow down to let someone merge into traffic ahead of you

20. Bring a coworker a cup of coffee or other drink they like

21. Bring in your neighbor's trash bins when you gather yours

22. Donate used items to charity rather than selling them

23. Buy a meal for the person(s) at the table next to you

24. Scrape the ice off the car next to you, or in front of you

25. Leave a positive or humorous note for someone to find

26. Say thank you

27. Give bottles of water to people working outside on a hot day

28. Let the person in the grocery line go ahead of you

29. Take some cookies, cake, or pie to the new neighbor

30. Leave a loving sticky note for your significant other

31. Send or take your Mom some flowers

32. Return a shopping cart for a stranger

33. Reach out to an old friend just to say "hi"

34. Compliment a parent on the good job they're doing

35. Pick up litter

36. Wash an elderly neighbor's car

37. Buy a gift card for your favorite service professional

38. Bring brownies or snacks to your local fire station to say thanks

39. Offer to babysit for a new mom so she can get some much needed rest or self-care

40. Leave coins on some machines at your local laundromat

How many more things can you think of? Remember, there is no kind gesture too small to make a difference. 

In a world of haters, BE KIND.

We can make a difference. Changing the world begins with changing ourselves.

Kindness Takeaways

My wife and I went out for lunch at Chili's this week. When the server Elizabeth came by for one last check-in, Barb said "You are wonderful". She didn't say the service was good (it was). She didn't say "You did a good job" (she did). Barb said, "You are wonderful", and the joy on Beth's face brought joy to mine. Barb was kind (I got lucky finding this one).

It doesn't have to cost you anything to be kind. You just have to choose to be kind.

I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and perform an act of kindness today. With the smallest act of kindness, you can make a significant impact on someone's day.

Kindness like a smile is contagious. Let it begin with you. When we see someone else displaying kindness, we are more likely to step forward and deliver our own acts of kindness. 

I love this video:

I'll ask you again.

Are you a kind person?

Do a random act of kindness today!

Go live your best life,