Friday, November 5, 2010

Photoless Friday (03): Random Acts of Kindness

Does this happen to you, too?

You read, or hear, or see, something that seems fleetingly interesting at the time, but your attention flickers, following the flash of the TV, a witty quip, the need to concentrate on the principal matter at hand.

Then you find that little forgotten flicker puff to life, like a hidden burning ember, barely visible at first, then slowly growing into something that you can't ignore, even if you wanted to?

One fellow's blog entry did that for me: random acts of kindness...More......

I've hunted through the net, again, to relocate his blurb. No such luck, yet. I still may find it because I want to thank him.

In some ways, he sounded like me: rendered harried and even anxious by the plummeting landslide that is modern life in a metropolis, but he was doing something to discipline himself to detach himself from the anxiety imposed from without.

Now that's something I can identify with: self-discipline. "Oh yeah!," I said to myself, "maybe what he does will work for me, too," and so I read on.

One thing he did: volunteering (!) to relinquish his premier place in the crammed supermarket line.


That's self-sacrifice.

If I've got a basket full, and someone with just a couple of things asks, I usually, even happily, let them go before me. Still happily, even if the next person asks, but the third.... I'd like to get home before midnight, too, even if I do try to leave plenty of breathing space for this kind of chore. It's in my own self-interest; as an anti-anxiety strategy, it's very effective. But volunteering to do it? Wow, again.

[Hello, local supermarket! Would you please create a "10 items or less" line, at least for peak hours? Seems pretty obvious to me.... ]

He gave another example, or two, which I've forgotten, and then, almost as if a Freudian slip, he dropped the words "random act of kindness."

"Cute turn of phrase," I said to myself, and kept on reading his examples, concentrating on how to do them myself (or congratulating myself smugly because I do them, already).

Much much later, this niggling phrase prompted me to search in the internet for his blog post, again, and I discovered that it wasn't just his cute turn of phrase, but a real movement, no, movements with various names (it's striking, though, the need in today's society to associate them with violence ["random acts violence"] and money ["pay back"] to get our attention).

These movements encourage us to do at least one spontaneous, or planned; big, or little; personal, or anonymous act of kindness a day.

What do I do? For example, if drivers stop to let me cross at cross walks without lights, I hurry, don't dawdle, across the street, and I give them a smile and a little "Thank You" wave, hoping that that transmits my smile into their hearts, something that will help them face the rough spots of their days (and we all have them).

It used to be called good ol'-fashioned common courtesy.

I was raised to think of the other person first. Really folks, it's not so hard...need to paw through your purse/brief case/pockets for that darned ringing cell phone, or desperate for a cigarette/breath mint? Step to the side of the sidewalk. What does it cost you? In effort, pratically zilch, but you'll make the people around you very happy (or at least, you won't annoy the heck out of them, and make their already harried life just that much worse...though it does help, too, to keep things in perspective; other people's lives are probably a lot worse than your own...what can you do to help them?).

Do it just because it's right. You may not get that satisfying smile of thanks, but your heart will smile to yourself.

Here's just one link to get you started with ways you can implement Random Acts of Kindness in your classrooms, in your home, in your neighborhoods, at work, and on the street, everyday:

You'll feel better.


Margaret said...

There's a bumper sticker I see sometimes here in the US: Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty.

Star said...

Take it with a grain of salt: according to a Wikipedia article (with cited source to be followed up, if desired), the phrase was coined by peace activist Anne Herbert, who lives in the northern Californian bay area: The phrase is particularly appropriate as a bumper sticker. I remember driving in So Cal, already a lot better than driving in Italy (I've given it up, and seriously think that that has contributed greatly to my peace of mind).
Thank you so much for reading my posts. I'm truly very honored.

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