World Kindness Day

Kindness is choice, and it is a lifestyle…

It is the practice or quality of being kind, considerate, or helpful, without expecting anything in return. It is a friendly behavior, showing compassion and mercy. Simply put, it is a state of being or lifestyle.

I was taught as a child that being kind was always the right thing to do. Back in those days (that seem so long ago), it was a common attribute of general society to be polite and considerate of others, and to be helpful.

It didn’t mean that I had to agree with everyone about everything. But even in differences of opinion, respect and civility could still be shown, and that is a kindness in itself.

Luke 6:31AMP says, “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you”. That was considered the Golden rule. Other phrases such as, “what goes around, comes around”, and “reap what one sows” also come to mind.

But it’s really not about being rewarded in return for an act of kindness.

I have lived in loneliness, darkness, even despair. And I have experienced first-hand the impact that one simple act of kindness can give to a broken heart. There was no demand, nothing asked in return for the hand of hope, a kind word, a smile, a simple gesture. But the life that was breathed back into my soul was and is, an unfathomable treasure.

I’ve also learned that a kindness doesn’t have to be directed at me specifically to have an impact on me. Think of the stories and videos going viral that tell of how someone’s actions made a difference in the life of another, like rescues of a puppy or kitten, or buying a car for someone in need. It may be on a grand scale, like donating a kidney, or may be in a simple small way, like sending cards to a little girl in the hospital. But it makes a difference in my heart when I hear of these acts.

The ripple effect…

Today is called World Kindness Day, which should really be every day.

As I flipped through the world news this morning, I couldn’t help but notice the anger and animosity being spewed in the headlines. I noticed that some of the people doing the loudest screaming actually do have good ideas and intentions. But while appealing to the emotions of anger will always gain attention, it also creates more division and hatred, which never leads to any lasting good.

I remember once, someone was yelling at me, demanding that I conform to their wishes. My response was, “If you want me to do something, ask or discuss it in a congenial manner, and I will most likely do it, even if I don’t particularly want to. But if you scream at me in a harsh or threatening manner, I most definitely will not go along with you”. Being forced to comply with something is simply a form of slavery.

On the other hand, soft words and leading by example can have a ripple effect that reaches far, creating change based on a desire of heart.

For example, when I was a firefighter back in the 90’s, we were working on mopping up a wildfire just off the Kenai River. During our lunchtime the first day, I decided to take a walk along the river to enjoy the view. I noticed there were a lot of fishing lines, beer bottles, and other types of garbage all along the riverbanks. So, I took out a plastic bag from my backpack and began picking up the debris. Soon, another firefighter came over and joined me in the clean-up. Within about 5 minutes, all 16 people on our crew had joined in the effort. We didn’t scream and yell at the tourists passing by, demanding that they join us. But several of them did join us, including one man that provided his truck to haul the garbage off to the dump, which he paid the fee for. No one asked us to do it, and we weren’t getting paid to do it. We didn’t stand around waving signs, pointing fingers, or blaming anyone. We just did it because we believed it needed doing, and even after our crew had to return to the fire, there were still people cleaning up along the river.

My small act by itself barely made a dent in the amount of garbage there. But the act had a ripple effect that did make a difference. It is also one of the things that friends of my son Christian remember so fondly about him. He was always stopping to pick up garbage wherever he went and jumping in to help wherever he could.

That is how kindness works. It grows inside your heart and moves on to influence the hearts of others, sometimes in ways that you never even know about.

“Kindness, like grain, increases by sowing”. – H.G. Bohn

 “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”. – Margaret Meade

It all starts with a choice, to be kind, or not. What will you choose?

Love to all. Now go out and Make A Difference. – Amber

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