Kindness is defined (on Wikipedia) as the “act or state of being kind, being marked by good and charitable behavior, pleasant disposition and concern for others.” Synonyms include compassionate, gracious, and sympathetic.
Sadly, we don’t always see very many examples of kindness in our daily lives. For some people the jobs they must do every day are a constant reminder of just how unkind the world can be. People can be cruel, or more often, just thoughtless.
Fortunately, there are still people out there who practice kindness, every day, in large and small ways. I stumbled across this blog, 366 Random Acts of Kindness, by accident one night a few weeks ago when I was procrastinating doing housework. It’s an amazing, yet simple, concept. The author has vowed to do one random act of kindness every day this year, for a total of 366 random acts of kindness. The acts thus far have included doing the dishes so his wife doesn’t have to, writing a condolence letter to the parents of a solider killed in action, giving blood, buying lunch for a shift at the local fire department, and carrying groceries for people. I love reading his blog. I look forward to it every day to see what he will come up with next.
There are three things that have really grabbed my attention about this blog; first, it seems like he’s just “an average guy”, he lives with his wife and daughter in an apartment, and works a full time job, so he’s busy with normal obligations just like most of us are. Second, he doesn’t seem to have vast amounts of disposable income to throw at causes; sure some of the things he has done cost money, but many are free. It just goes to show us that even with limited financial resources we can still do something to help others. The third has been the snowball effect; in reading the comments on the blog it seems like other people have been inspired to perform the same or similar acts in their day to day lives. Who knows how many other people have been inspired by those acts to do the same?
This has really made me think about some of the kindnesses that have been done for me in my life, and of the kindnesses that I can do for other people in return. Kind acts don’t have to be anything extraordinary; sometimes something as simple as holding a door for someone who has their hands full can push their day from bad to good. Sometimes taking the time to do something like taking a meal to someone who is ill can make the difference between them feeling alone or feeling supported. So now I want to make more of an effort to find ways to be kinder to people. I doubt I will come up with anything as grand as 366 random acts, but we can all do something, right? Hopefully I will have updates to share along the way, since most us can benefit from a little more kindness, grace, sympathy, and compassion in our lives.