Kindness continues like ripples in the water….
Last week I wrote on being kind and how it actually is a boon to your health and happiness, but if you remember it didn’t stop there, it also had a ripple effect. It makes sense that it directly helps the person who is the recipient of your benevolence, but kindness begets kindness. When others witness an altruistic act, they are highly likely to pass it on.
With that in mind, I thought I might start a kindness campaign.
There is a plethora of ways to demonstrate kindness. We have all heard of random acts of kindness, but why does it have to be random?
Everyone could use a little kindness, but I want to start this in a very specific way.
So, I have decided to pick a people group. (I could said, a demographic, but that sounds so social-science-y.) As I observe young moms in my community I am reminded of the struggles that come with parenting babies, toddlers, and preschoolers and perhaps one or two in the early elementary stage. Sometimes it feels like all you do is try to keep your kids alive! Am I right?
We recently vacationed with a couple of our kids and a few of our grandchildren. One was a 19- month old toddler. There were 5 adults and 3 kids, which is a great ratio, but practically every time we turned around, we were helping the toddler out of trouble or precarious situations. For instance, there was an open spiral staircase leading to a loft bedroom, with unforgiving ceramic tile floors beneath it. We made a blockade to keep him from going up, but several times he found his way through and headed up the staircase as fast as he could go. He had no idea of what harm could come to him if he fell. He just thought it was fun AND funny. So it is with toddlers…
At any rate, I believe that young moms (or dads, for that matter) could use a dose of kindness directed there way from time to time (or is that ALL THE TIME?).
So, I brainstormed to come up with a list of things I can do to show a little good will toward those with little ones. Here goes…
-Help her put groceries in her car while she puts the kids in their car seats.
-Hold the door open for her as she tries to navigate a stroller (and often hold the hand of another little one).
-Keep an extra set of eyes on the little ones while she finishes a transaction. (She doesn’t even need to know this is happening, but they sure can dart away quickly when Mom looks away for a few seconds.) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve help a mom who is suddenly panic stricken when she realizes her little one has slipped away.
-Let them have the closer parking space that you have been waiting for.
-Wait patiently while the mom crosses the street with her “little ducklings”.
-Pay for her food now and then when she is in line ahead or behind you.
-If she is traveling, find a way to help her with her luggage. (A kind lady paid a porter to get my bags for me once when I was traveling alone with a baby.)
-If the kids are having a meltdown in a public place, give her a word of encouragement and tell her you’ve been there and understand.
-If she is stranded somewhere, assist her in finding the help she needs.
-Engage her in a conversation, so she can have a grown-up chat for a change.
Don’t freak her out. It is a crazy scary world these days, so be helpful, but not creepy.
Don’t offer to hold her baby. Unfortunately, babies and children are abducted these days and that kind of an offer isn’t so kind anymore. The exception being if she is desperate and needs an extra set of hands, then you can help in this way, but stay where she can see you with her child. And for goodness sakes, do not touch her pregnant belly, nor ask if you can. Can we agree that is extremely awkward???
If you do know them personally, there is another whole list of things you can do to show kindness.
Here is just a few…
-Offer to babysit so she can have a date night or run errands alone.
-Bring her some groceries.
-Run an errand for her (or call when you’re out and ask if she needs anything.)
-Watch the other kids or baby so she can do something special with one child.
-Ask her the kid’s needs and hit a few garage sales or thrift stores for her, or with her.
-Invite her over for coffee.
This list is far from exhaustive. Can you think of other ways?
I invite you to this Kindness Campaign or to come up with one of your own. Brainstorm a list and then look for opportunities to put them into action. Then share your thoughts in the comments.
Like anything else, the more we practice it, the better we get at it, until it becomes second nature.