Thursday, May 7, 2015

Day 11: Kindness Counts

Someone asked me today how I was, and really meant it—and it gave me pause. It stopped me in my tracks to see the thoughtfulness in her eyes.

When people say, “how are you?” I am so used to blurting out “great, fabulous, wonderful” without giving it a second thought. And believe me there have been days when I have hid behind those words, because aren’t there times when you really want to say awful, cranky, down, bloated, tired, annoyed. But today I stopped and actually thought about it and said, “yeah I feel really good,” but maybe it’s because of the boost I got just because they took the time to actually care about the response and that in turn made me feel good.

It’s so rare that people show kindness to each other. There is beauty in this somewhat simple thought.  Kindness can make all the difference, I think. You can turn around someone’s day with a smile or small acknowledgement and what do you get in return—a shot of pure feeling good-ness. I know people have gone through unimaginable pain and difficulty, but to me that is all the more reason to show a little kindness whenever possible. Even the smallest gesture can have a major impact on another person who may not be having the best day—and who knows your kindness may even make them rethink something negative in their lives.

How you act, and sometimes more importantly, how you react, are the ways we teach our children to act and react. We obviously know this, but have you ever thrown your own temper tantrum then watched your kid mimic it when they are frustrated? Ugh, it’s the worst feeling ever, and you know I am speaking from experience. I try not to beat myself up about it and let these moments serve as a wake up call for the future, but it’s not always that easy, is it? These things take time and effort and when you’re a parent and you are bone tired from, well everything a parent does, these mystical things like “time” and “effort” can seem as rare as spying Bigfoot in the backyard. I get it, I have been there, in fact I might be there right now…

I just have to believe that if I keep it top of mind, if I remember to take a breath (instead of sucking in air to yell) and pause to care that my acts of kindness will make a difference in my boys. There are beautiful glimmers that let me know it works, like today when Liam tried to calm Connor when he was crying by getting his favorite toy or when Connor has seen that I am upset and comes to hold my hand.

It may sound silly or naive but I believe that showing kindness can change the world, but for now I will try to focus on changing my world, easing tension and anxiety one moment at a time. I know I won’t be perfect, maybe not even good at it at all, but I am going to try because my family will be better, happier, for it.

So THANK YOU to the woman who showed me kindness with a simple question and caring smile, you made my day—and I am a better person, and parent, for it.

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