Archive for Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Random acts of kindness’ make world a better place

February 18, 2014

Monday, Feb. 17, was a special day. The obvious answer is that it was President’s Day when we honor our nation’s two greatest presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. For some it was a day off work or school but for others it was a time for service. This past Monday is recognized internationally as Random Acts of Kindness Day. It culminates a week when persons are asked to participate in some simple act to help others.

If you stop to think about it, we should regularly do whatever we can to help others and make our tiny area of the world a better place to live. I thought it is really like the Boy Scout motto: “Do a Good Turn Daily.” It is a motto that we should all live by. It also fits in with Valentine’s Day when special efforts are made to show love.

The idea for Random Acts of Kindness was originated in New Zealand by Josh de Jong. With the help of Marshall Gray, Megan Singleton and Reuben Gwyn the observance spread through New Zealand and around the world. It is under the direction of an internationally recognized foundation. You can find a lot of websites about the observances including ideas for random acts and suggestions for inclusion in school curriculums as well as community-wide observances.

Personally I have come to respect small, random acts of kindness since I walk with a cane. I really appreciate it when someone holds a door open for me. What I like is the small but valuable show of kindness which can make my life easier. This has surprised some of my friends, but many, many young people are very kind and courteous. Being kind is contagious and it inspires me to return the favor.

I was thinking about this as I was driving down Cedar Street and since there was no traffic behind me, I stopped to let two ladies cross the street and go to Nettleton Manor. They returned the favor by waving and smiling. It seems to me that’s the way it works — you do a kindness for someone and it will be returned to you even if is just a smile and a “thank you.”

One suggestion concerning driving: Everyone would be a lot better off is we observed small acts of kindness behind the wheel. Too many drivers weave in and out of traffic cutting motorists off, just to save a few seconds. One person wrote that not endangering others was a valuable act of kindness. Of course, we can all be polite and let a driver into traffic. I wonder how many accidents could be prevented by driving with a mindset of “random acts of kindness.”

Probably the easiest way to show kindness is to just say “thank you” to those you come in contact with. Just being appreciated is an act of kindness and just showing patience is a worthwhile way to show concern for others. None of us like to wait, but when we have to there is no reason to make everyone miserable.

The website included dozens of ways to show kindness including shoveling snow, calling a shut-in neighbor or sending a note to a friend. The opportunities are endless and most require little more than just “being nice.”

Maybe we should all take a few moments and think about the small, random acts of kindness we receive every day. Then we should pledge to return those acts to others, treating those around us with the same kindness we like to receive. It should be a way of life.

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