We invite you to remember your loved ones who have died by committing an act of kindness in their honor. Love, kindness, generosity, sharing, these are the gifts we can give to them.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kindnesses Through the Week

I am thinking back over the week of all the small kindnesses I have seen, heard about, performed and received. I have been talking to my kids at work in our groups for the past several weeks about empathy and have tied in kindness for the past two. After several of them had difficulty last week coming up with ideas for how they could be kind to others, we played Kindness Bingo. As we played, they began talking about all the small things they remembered they had done to help others throughout the week:

W. earned donuts as an incentive for staying on target for his behavior all week and not only shared his donuts with the whole class, but brought in soda to share to go along with them.

L. was given cookies for her birthday last week and chose to share them with everyone in class.

C. gave his snack to a friend in class.

One of the class support staff shared that he pays the toll for the car behind him when he travels.

H. fixed the vacuum cleaner for his housemate and then vacuummed the room for him.

I. went to the store for her grandmother and also babysat for her neice and nephew while her sister went out with her friends.

M. is planning to give his entire paycheck from his part-time job to his mother because he knows that Christmas is hard on her and she has to get things for his little brother and sister.

D. held the door for someone

The Visual Arts Center of Richmond is currently sponsoring a food drive to benefit Richmond's Food Bank. All the state's food banks are in dire need of donations of money and food to keep their shelves stocked for those who do not have enough to eat. Donating non-perishables to one of the many food drives is a wonderful thing to do to help in our own community. Lula and I went to the grocery store to purchase some groceries to donate.

We have also continued our cookie giving project and gave a tin of cookies to the plumber who came to fix our kitchen sink which was clogged this week. Jamie took a tin of cookies to Red when he got his hair cut this week, and also to the Barking Lot when our Lhasa Apso Chloe got her hair cut.

In Costco this week, I struck up a conversation with a woman in line behind me. I noticed that she only had a few things in her basket and asked her to go ahead of me in line. She was very grateful and said that it would help her a lot as she was running late to see a friend. After we payed, I saw that it was pouring rain out and I had left the umbrella in the car. Four people offered to loan me theirs to get to the car, but I declined and decided to wait it out.
We went in to the snack area where Lula was happy to practice picking up and eating Cheerios. While she blinked at the O's sticking to her fingers and amused herself trying to get them into her mouth, an older couple sitting at the table next to us began smiling and laughing at her. It doesn't take much to get her attention and if she thinks she can entertain, she will gladly do so. They began talking and laughing with us and we all had a great time. The husband half of the couple remembered that he had his big golf umbrella at his feet and insisted on walking Lula and me out to the car. The umbrella was big enough to cover her in her car seat, me and him. He also helped me get the items into the trunk while the rain continued to pour, but none of us got wet! I wish I had asked their names, but I guess really, it doesn't matter. It was the kindness that mattered.

Just to share, here is the list of kindness suggestions included in my Kindness Bingo Game:

Bake cookies to share with a friend or neighbor

Be kind to the Earth—Turn off the lights when you leave a room

Give someone you love a hug

Call someone you have not talked to in a while just because

Leave a note for someone you love thanking them for being who they are

Send flowers to someone who touched your life in a positive way

Sit down to eat dinner with your whole family

Be kind to the Earth—Pick up trash when you see it

Give a thank you note to your teacher or support staff (or co-worker, supervisor, etc.)

Tell someone they look nice today (and mean it!)

Volunteer with a charity organization

Take a bag of canned goods to the food bank

Save up some money and give to a worthy cause

Make a family member’s favorite dinner tonight

Hold the door for someone

Offer to do a chore you don’t usually do

Lend a hand to someone you see struggling with a heavy load

Help someone with their bags at the grocery store

Donate a warm coat to Goodwill or Salvation Army

SMILE at 5 people today!

Anonymously Give a Gift

Ask someone how their day was and really listen

Run a race or walk a walk to fund research for a disease

Reach out to elderly or homebound people in your neighborhood

Personally thank someone who does things to keep your school (or workplace) nice

Be kind to the Earth—RECYCLE

Craft for a Cause—Knit or crochet a cap or blanket to donate to a PICU or NICU

Next time you are in a store, thank the person who rings you up and smile

Be kind to the Earth—RE-USE and RE-PURPOSE things instead of throwing them out

Tape the exact change for a drink or snack on a vending machine

Tell someone you are sorry for something you never apologized for

Look for opportunities to help others and then do it!

Volunteer to visit residents in nursing home

If you decide you don’t want something in a store, take it back to the shelf

Be kind to the Earth—Plant something

Make your favorite dessert and share it with someone

Let someone ahead of you in lineSpend some time playing with a child

Give someone the gift of your time

In the drive-thru or toll booth, pay for the person behind you

When someone you know looks upset, ask if they want to talk—and really listen

Next time you ask, “How are you?” Wait to find out how they really are

Write a letter to a friend to tell how they touch your life

Sincerely thank the person who cooks your next meal

Leave chocolate on the desks of your classmates(or co-workers)—Anonymously

Help your parent, spouse, partner, roomate, etc., with something they wouldn’t expect you to

Always say please, thank you and you’re welcome…with a smile

When it is raining, share your umbrella with someone who doesn’t have one

Think of 3 things you are truly grateful for focus on that feeling

Another Anonymous Good Deed Doer

I wanted to share this kind person's comment on the recent post "Anonymous Good Deeds". Thank you, Anonymous, for sharing your thoughts and your wonderful acts of kindness this season. I also want to thank you for sharing your experience of losing your child with us. Please never discount your pain and grief over losing your baby. Your child is your child and will always be in your heart. My thoughts are with you, wherever and whoever you are. Thank you--

From Anonymous:

Thank you for sharing Theo's story with us! My daughter shared it with us, and it really hit home. We are now blessed with five grandchildren; two teens and three small ones (20 mths, and two newborns), but I too know the grief of losing a child even though I never held it in my arms. I felt that child move, but never got to meet him. How much more to hold your baby and have to let go! At this season, your sacrifice brings to mind the greatest sacrifice for us in giving up a son. Jesus. What an 'act of kindness" and love this was!

There are many times in my daily life, that instances occur allowing me to commit these acts of kindness but I don't really think about them in that way. Thank you for making me feel better about what I take for granted as something I need to do.

For Christmas this year I was able to:
#1 - Gift someone with a large Pooh that had been "living" at my house for several months. They were not able to buy something like this for their baby (9Mo), but his first word was "Pooh" and the gift was appropriate. They were delighted!
#2 - Purchase a gift for a child thru the AngelTree Ministry which helps incarcerated prisoners provide a gift for their children.
#3 - Purchase gifts for young men in a drug and alcohol program that aren't able to make it home for the holidays.

As a final thought, there is a new movie that coming out "Seven Pounds" starring Will Smith, that takes on this topic of random acts of kindness. Smith was quoted as saying he hadn't realized how out of touch with "every day things" he had become in his life until it was brought to his attention by his child. It is so fitting that it only takes a child to draw our attention to what is important!

Thank you for sharing, and taking the time to listen to all of us!

Anonymous Good Deeds

For Theo I gave two sacks of food to the local food bank, which is running out of food.

I picked up trash from the street even though people looked at me all funny.

Today I gave my last ten dollars to a family who had less than ten dollars.