What is considered to be an act of kindness? I’ve been watching. I’ve been waiting. I’ve been observing. I’m guessing everyone has a different idea or definition on how this should be carried out.
To me, kindness should be a daily habit not just a random act. It should be a part of a person’s character traits. I hear people say, “Well I did my RAK (random act of kindness) today, I’ll be good for another day”. Maybe they mean that with the best of intentions or maybe that person puts their blinders back on and recoils back into their self-absorbed world. Is that mean to say?
Kindness involves the words you use and the actions you display…everyday. It has a direct impact on another and consequentially also impacts you and should be genuine rather than forced. So the simple words Good Morning could be a kind gesture. A kiss good-bye when leaving for work would be an act of kindness. It doesn’t need to be grand or over the top to affect another being. It doesn’t have to be limited to just people, animals need kindness too.
Most people say they enjoy the simple things or it’s the little things that mean the most to them. I’ve been having a hard time observing that this week with people other than family. Of course my family is kind but I was hoping to see kindness in others as I was out and about. I specifically set out to view kindness from others this week without me being the first to prompt it. I’ve had my 2-year-old granddaughter with me this week (big grin) and we all know how a toddler behaves (pretty sure they could be classified as bi-polar) luckily that’s just a phase for them!
So here’s what I witnessed this week, when someone sees you coming with a toddler, some tend to ignore you unless they’re grandparents themselves. Seriously, I took her to the local nursery to look for flowers and could not get anyone to help me. There was an older couple who cooed over her and told me to be careful going down the hill as it was steep, thank you older couple! The guys working in the nursery refused to make eye contact and the young girl simply gave me a look of comradery and sympathy combined. I think she may have mouthed the words Stay Strong and put her fist over her heart. I wasn’t sure how to take that so I kept moving. When we were finally able to check out, the middle age woman behind the register was on her cell phone holding up one finger, no not the middle one. She wanted me to wait for her to finish her conversation, really lady?!?
There was an older woman who offered to let me go ahead of her at the grocery store because I only had one item, thank you lady that was very kind! There was a young mother at Target who rolled her eyes at me because I let Livi touch and play with the toys in the toy aisle. When we went for a walk through the neighborhood, most adults passed by without any type of recognition yet other children would wave and say hi.
I’m starting to sense a pattern. Young children and older adults seem to be kinder and friendly and it appears to be genuine. They will initiate an act of kindness first. Other adults ages 20 – 40’s seem to be more self-absorbed, I know that sounds a little judgemental but it’s just what I experienced this one week.
Is kindness only given out when it is received?? Is everyone just waiting for someone else to start the kindness? Like the kids in school who always say, “No you go first!” maybe our society is waiting for someone else to be kind first. Maybe that’s why they say be the change you want to see. I admit that when I am the one who initiates being kind first it is reciprocated, not always but most often.
I fear as a society that we are becoming more and more insensitive to others. People are getting beat up (literally and figuratively) over the way they look or because of what they believe in. We get judged and condemned because we are different but should we all really be exactly alike? Shouldn’t we be celebrating our differences, shouldn’t we be kinder to those who are different? Based on my experiment this week, I can say that some people won’t initiate kindness but rather they wait for it. How long are they willing to wait? What if everyone is just waiting for the other person to reach out, are you willing to go first?