Friday, March 18, 2016

Random Acts of Kindness (RAK)

I have mentioned before that acts of kindness are seldom random for those that perform them. We look on and see them as random because they happen far too infrequently. But for those kind people, kindness is often a way of life.

I am thinking of a coffee shop somewhere in Vermont that my brother frequents. He often posts pictures or items from a chalk board that is in the shop and it offers weekly thoughts or challenges from local eighth grade class. This week's was the question "What have you done to make somebody smile this week?"

There is space for people to write their answers and chalk to write with.

I generally have few interactions with people throughout the week. I've had a few more this week -- we had dinner with friends on two occasions, I spoke with some neighbors at the polling place Tuesday, Hannah and Daniel came over for dinner last night and there was the flat tire on the motorcycle incident that netted me several encounters with very helpful people. The problem with all of that is that I think the people I encountered did more to make me smile than I did for them.

It has been a pretty good week, but I still know that I need to do more to interact with people.
On Monday evenings, I have been knocking on doors to introduce our church to the people that live close to the church. It's a thing I do with a couple of other guys from Hopedale. Tuesday a nurse stopped by for a brief insurance physical and Wednesday Chris and I dropped of a soda and sandwich for a friend that was at the hospital with her daughter.

Maybe I don't need to interact with more people. That's about a whole month's worth in just a few days!

I also received a call from an old friend and had a nice chat on the phone.

I know that there are little things that make me smile.
I don't know if little things I might do make others smile.

     - holding the door for a stranger
     - leaving an extra tip ('cause I sat for a long time just drinking coffee)
     - a random text or phone call, or maybe a note in the mail
     - meeting friends for dinner
     - giving a small gift
     - just being patient

I don't think we have to go out of our way to be kind to people.
But I also think that it is difficult to know if we've done something to make somebody else smile -- unless we get to see the smile!

We should be nice to people without the expectation of reward other than the feeling we get just from being kind.

Be kind.
Live well.

John <><


allenwoodhaven said...

Good topic! I believe kindness should be very common. It's unfortunate that it isn't. When I was about 10, I wrote Ann Landers a letter and put it on my father's bureau to mail. My parents then wanted to have a talk with me. What could be so wrong that I'd write Ann Landers instead of talking to them? I told them that I just wanted to ask a question: Why weren't people nice to each other? It didn't seem hard to me and it clearly made the world a better place. Not being nice seemed to be a lot more difficult. My letter did get mailed, but I never saw a reply in the paper. Believe me, I looked!

When I was a young adult, I almost had some bumper stickers made: Practice Strategic Acts of Kindness and Meaningful Beauty. I figured that if kindness could be done strategically and beauty could be meaningful (instead of senseless), it would have a greater effect on the world. Now that I'm much older, I'm happy for any act of kindness or beauty. I try to be kind throughout my day. Even if it's not noticed or appreciated by others, I am glad and that has value for me. Beauty can be seen almost everywhere, if only we are open to seeing it. These are things that make me smile.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

It's very inspirational. I'll try to look for ways to give kindness to others, including strangers. You're a good man, John!

Blanche duBois: "I always depend on the kindness of strangers."

Mike said...

"...I need to do more to interact with people..."

Be very very careful!

John Hill said...

allenwoodhaven -- Good for you! Keep up the purposeful kindness.

Angel -- Thank you, but it is easy to be good on the internet. Those that know me may have a different opinion.

Mike -- Yes, careful indeed!