I love the idea of Random Acts of Kindness. And I even love it more when I see it being put into practice. In fact, one of our future books from The Pelican Family Series, Nelly’s Quilt, is all about this topic…and about passing that kindness on. The repeated phrase in that book is:
“Just be kind to someone else, that will be thanks enough.”
But something I always think about when I do see these random acts is, I hope those people who are showing kindness to strangers don’t forget to do the same thing with those who are closest to them. I often wonder if it is harder to do random acts of kindness for those with whom we live; like our parents, our children, our spouses. And I also often think that maybe our society would be a bit more civilized if we practiced that on a daily basis.
I have some great models for practicing these in-family small kindnesses — my sister, my husband, and my children. My sister is a person who is kind to everyone, but she doesn’t slight her own family. Often she will just come over with a bouquet of flowers, a batch of cookies or something else just because. She does the same kinds of thing for her husband and her children. These acts are not to celebrate a special event or to apologize for some perceived wrongdoing, but just because. That’s what makes small kindnesses with family powerful.
My husband too, was good at small kindnesses not attached to a special occasion. I remember one time I was working outside in our yard, and my husband, who was in the house doing something, suddenly appeared with a dish of nachos. He knew I loved nachos, but I knew he was busy and certainly didn’t expect him to take time to make them. I wasn’t even thinking of them, then all of sudden out he walked to hand them to me. Often he bought me things just because he was thinking I’d like them. And often he took me places that I knew he wasn’t especially interested in just because he knew I’d rather go with him than by myself or someone else. I see my children do the same thing — bringing something special with them when they come, writing small notes that I will find later when they leave, calling, sending me interesting articles or book titles or other information.
Small kindnesses are powerful.
Many times we wouldn’t think of missing a birthday or anniversary or other special occasion. But in our busy lives we forget the kind word or act just because.
Just think what a model for our children that would be if we as adults worked to do those small kindnesses within the family often.
So, what are the criteria for small kindnesses?
Do them for family members or close friends.
Don’t expect or even want something in return, the giving is the reward.
They can be a tangible gift, or just your time, or a call, or note, or smile.
Do them just because, not connected to a special event.
Do them often.
Let’s all keep doing the Random Acts of Kindness with strangers. But also remember to do small kindnesses for those with whom we interact on a day to day basis.
Why? Just Because.