(Today’s post is for the letter K in the A-Z challenge.)
There is not enough kindness in the world today. Too many times we have excuses not to be kind to others but when I think about it, I realize that I have no excuse not to be kind to anyone.
Kindness isn’t a give and take action. Kindness is all giving without any expectation of return. Kindness needs to be done because it is the right thing to do and not because we think others owe it to us in return. I think many people have gotten out of practice and need to make a conscious effort to be kind to others. With this practice, it may become a natural action where you don’t even have to think about it.
Kindness comes in many forms. It may just be a simple smile to someone. Or it may be a compliment on what they are wearing or what they are doing. This makes us notice others more.
I remember riding on a subway in NY where no one wants to give anyone eye contact. It is a way to try to make yourself invisible and hope no one notices you. I was the student in the class who wouldn’t make eye contact with the teacher and would often line my head up exactly behind the person in front of me so that I wouldn’t be noticed. The reason I did this was because I was afraid I would make a mistake and be ridiculed by either the teacher or my peers. Maybe if the teacher had been kind enough to see me after class and really hear my concerns, we would have been able to work through this behavior.
Kindness may be just listening to someone else. Many people just want someone to listen to them.
I remember meeting with an irate parent. Instead of defending myself or the school, I just let her rant and rave. After a while, she started to wind down and calm down. At the end, she thanked me for listening because no one had ever taken the time to just listen to her concerns and frustrations. Once she got that out of her system, we were able to work towards a solution to the problem. She no longer wanted to sue the school or the district. She longer felt like an adversary and finally felt like she could be part of the team now.
I remember a teenager in my class just needed someone to listen to him without making any judgments. He might have made some harsh statements about others but eventually came around and realized they were rash. He just needed to get all of his anger out of his system. He was frustrated with his disability and he felt like no one understood him. Once he could get that anger out and calm down, we were able to figure out ways to help him be more successful in the classroom.
I complimented a complete stranger in the store on her beautiful knit sweater. As a knitter, I’m always looking at knit items and wondering if it is possible for me to replicate something like that. She looked surprised and then thanked me. A few minutes later she came up to me and let me know that she was having a horrible day and those were the first nice words anyone had said to her all day long.
We never know what our students are dealing with at home or in their other classes. We don’t know how they are really feeling inside. In just a few minutes, our kindness can really make a difference. Kindness may seem like a small thing to the person giving it but it could have a really big effect on the person receiving it.
So, I challenge you to show a little kindness to someone today, whether it is a family member, someone in your work place, or even a complete stranger. Then tomorrow, do it to two people. And then each day try to double it until you no longer think about it. Hopefully you will have developed a wonderful habit that others will want to copy!
Image: 'The kindness of strangers'