Give the Gift of Kindness

Thechurchcodaniel   -  

By Kathy Ferguson, RN, Parish Nurse

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12

As I am beginning to write this month’s article on November 13, I have discovered that it is World Kindness Day. I think that is wonderful, but don’t you think that every day should be Kindness Day? According to Karyn Hall, Ph.D., kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Affection, gentleness, warmth, concern, and care are words that are associated with kindness. In a recent study, people reported how they felt after performing or observing kind acts. Happiness was measured before and after seven days of kindness. The researchers found that being kind to ourselves or to anyone else or actively observing kindness around us boosted happiness. In other words, being kind not only helps others, but it has a positive effect on you too!
Aesop, the ancient Greek storyteller, once said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” With that in mind, in this season of giving, consider these small ways that you can share kindness now and throughout the year. I am sure that you can think of or have done many more!

Let someone go first in line
Stand, so someone else can sit
Help someone carry their shopping bags
Share a meal with someone who usually eats alone
Get on a first-name basis with more people
Spend some time with an elderly neighbor or relative
Ask a child what the kindest thing someone did for them this week
Forgive yourself
Write an apology (even if you don’t send it)
Compliment someone on social media
Phone a friend and tell them they’re awesome
Reconnect with someone special
Write someone a letter
Share or teach your favorite interest or talent with someone
Thank someone who made a difference in your life
Share a good book with someone
Truly start listening to others (instead of already formulating the answer in your head)
Answer rudeness with kindness
Include someone who is on the sidelines
Donate toys to a local charity drive
Bring poinsettias to someone who is lonely
Bake (or buy) holiday treats to share with neighbors, along with holiday greetings
Buy a cup of cocoa/coffee/cider for a stranger
Share candy canes with friends and strangers
Read holiday books with folks at a nursing home
Leave thank you notes and/or gift cards for service people: mail carrier, trash collector, etc.
Call a relative you haven’t seen in a while
Write a letter to the editor thanking local police, firefighters, ambulance crews
Invite friends and family to join you on a winter hike
Hold the door for someone
Let a parent with young kids in their cart go in front of you in the grocery checkout line
Say thank you to someone who made your life a bit better today
Send a thinking-of-you text
Make eye contact with anyone who serves you—cashiers, baristas, receptionists, medical personnel, etc.
Bring up your neighbor’s trash cans from the street
Pay for the person behind you in a drive-through or put extra coins in metered parking when you pull out
Pick up litter when you notice it and throw it away
Read a book to a child
Use people’s names when you talk to them—it feels good to be noticed and known
Carry a stack of post-it notes in your purse/pocket and leave positive notes in public places
Smile and say hello to people you meet on the street, in the elevator, at work, at church

Most of these suggestions are free and take little time and energy. One small kind thing that you do today can have an impact on things you never considered.
In closing, consider these wise words from Mr. Rogers:

Merry Christmas!