Spreading Kindness 101
I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and happened upon a post from KindSpring.com. If you haven’t heard of them, you should check them out. They work to inspire kindness and gratitude practice. It’s like a little daily dose of goodness. Well, today’s post was from a woman who talked about walking down the street and thinking to close the lids of the trash bins for her neighbors since rain was expected. It was just a small thing that most of her neighbors would never even notice. Still…it spreads a little kindness in the world.
About 30 minutes later, I had just finished mopping the floors and my father-in-law (who is 86 and lives with us for health reasons) opened the dishwasher to put away his coffee cup. Now, this was a fully packed clean dishwasher and in the process of turning his cup upside down, he spilled leftover coffee all over the floor and into the dishwasher. Before I knew it I was yelling, “No! The dishwasher is full!”—after which he startled and started apologizing. Ugh. I had just made this man who has done so much for my husband and my family feel incapable and insignificant.
To be clear, I’m not upset about the yelling. My sweet father-in-law is going deaf and only had in one hearing aide. The yelling was necessary. It was the tone and the frustration in my face that I regret. I could have conveyed the same message without the attitude. What’s a little spilled coffee in the big picture, right?
But if I’m honest, this kind of thing happens way too often…with my father-in-law, my children, my husband, and most especially with my hard-headed Great Dane. I know I’m not the only one, too. We get so caught up in getting the house clean or getting the kids out the door or finishing that project that, before we know it, our perspective is totally out of whack. In what universe is having a clean house more important than showing compassion and kindness to the ones we love the most? Not one I want to live in, and yet, I fall into that trap more than I would like to admit.
So, while I think it is lovely to do an act of random kindness for strangers, today I will focus on doing intentional acts of kindness for my family. I will smile and pay attention. I will practice patience and tolerance. I will pause before I react. I will try to bring a little kindness into my own world. What about you?