Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for Kindness

Yellowstone National Park
I think people are inherently kind. It's in our DNA because it helped our chances of survival at one point in time. If we were kind, we would be more likely to be included as part of the group that provided food, shelter, and protection. Or some such thing like that. Playing armchair anthropologist is fun.

But I really do believe that most people are kind. Oh, there are times when someone is having a bad day when they aren't showing their kinder side, but I think that is more the exception than the rule. To prove this point, I asked a few people for examples of little acts of kindness that they had done or had had done for them recently. At first some weren't sure they had anything to say, but with more thought, they had a lot to say. I think this means that kind acts are so much a part of our everyday life that it takes a minute for us to remember them. Here are a few of the examples I got. (For consistency, I am writing all of these as if the person were the recipient of the kindness.)

--I was getting ready for my first high school dance and was having a problem tying my tie. My neighbor helped me tie it.

--I had been having some difficult days at work and one of my coworkers showed up with balloons to brighten my mood.

--I was stretching to reach something off the top shelf at the grocery store and a stranger helped me reach it.

--I had been to an auction and a stranger helped me carry my purchases to my car.

--I had my baby in a backpack and his shoes fell off. A stranger jumped in and helped me pick them up and then volunteered to carry some of my other things.

--I was having problems with my homework and my neighbor sat down with me and figured out the whole lesson.

--I hadn't been feeling well for a while and a friend brought a meal to me and did the errands I needed done.

--I had been feeling really down since my husband died, and a friend called.We had a long talk and I felt much better when we were done.

--I couldn't find a quarter to get a shopping cart at Aldi's one day and a stranger gave me one.

--I asked the neighbor to borrow a tool for some plumbing I was doing and he not only lent me the tool, he helped me with the whole job of installing the hot water heater.

--I got a book that I had mentioned once that I would like to have from a friend completely as a surprise.

--"I had been staying with friends for a couple of months while I was recovering from a knee operation. Yesterday I packed up all my stuff drove back to my house. One of the friends with whom I was staying, packed some cookies and raspberries in a container and hid it in my car. This morning when I was thinking, "Woe is me, I have no food in my house! What shall I eat for breakfast?" I discovered the wonderful gift. There has rarely been a finer breakfast than chocolate chip cookies with raspberries."

--There is a remarkable woman and her family who live on my street. The woman is battling an aggressive form of cancer. As a thank you to the neighbors for all of our support, they threw a block party. The party was an example of great cooperation and kindness for all involved.

--I was at a market with my mom and I was really bored. A big guy (teenager) organized a game of tag for us. It was a lot of fun.

Yellowstone National Park
And now an example of my own. A couple of years ago, Ward and I were vacationing in Yellowstone National Park. Besides enjoying the breathtaking scenery, we noted what a good mood everyone was in. Even in the crowded areas, there was no jostling for the best vantage point or annoyance with the line for the bathroom. This good mood extended to helping each other when people were trying to get a picture of their family or themselves with beautiful scenery behind them. In one of these spots, I was trying to get a picture of Ward with a waterfall behind him when a young man offered to take our picture together. We gladly agreed. After he had gotten a couple of pictures, a woman offered to take a picture of our whole family and insisted that the young man join us in the picture. At that point, it was just easier for him to join us than try to explain what was really going on. So we got a nice picture of ourselves with a kind young man who was our "son" for that time. We all smiled as one kind act led to another--with a twist.

Have you done any random acts of kindness recently or had any done for you?