I am a firm believer in kindness; it lubricates life and makes the rough spots easier to bear.  To me, a small act – not attention-seeking largesse – is the easiest and most effective. I have enjoyed doing things of that sort, such as allowing someone in line ahead of me at the grocery store; paying for someone’s meal anonymously; and holding a door.  (Before I knew it was illegal, I would also drop a nickel in a parking meter if I noticed it was about to expire.)

But what really makes me happy is sharing compliments.  If I hear something nice about someone, I feel happily obligated to pass it on to that person.  What good are kind words left unsaid? When someone says something nice about me, it gives me a smile inside, and I am honestly grateful for not only the words, but for that person taking the time to share them with me.

When I was a young teen, accompanying my mother shopping was embarrassing to begin with, but once we were in the store it got worse. She hummed, sang, or whistled along with the piped-in music…and she talked to people!  People she did not even know!

I was mortified, as many 15 year olds would have been. As I grew older, however, I realized that Mother was just being her irrepressibly good-natured self. She would make a little joke, and people would respond with a smile or a chuckle. She would compliment the checker on the necklace she wore, or tell the box boy what a good job he was doing. What a gift she gave to them! She made them feel good. To this day, people fondly recall my mother and her cheerful, albeit wacky, humor.  They remember her kindness.

I confess: I talk to strangers in the grocery store now. I compliment their dress or perfume, make small talk in line, and smile and wave at their small children. I chat about the weather, the game, the traffic, or our shared human condition. When I talk to strangers in line at the bank or wink at the baby in the stroller, I think of my mother, and hope that people will pass that kindness along.

4 thoughts on “Kindness”

  1. Yes, it does. My sister added that we all (us and our siblings), do the same. It is a strong legacy, and one I am proud to pass along. Dad was the same way, but I never had to go grocery shopping with him. 😉

  2. I need a “Like” button. I try to always say something to the person who is either ringing me out at the cash register (grocery or department store) or the person bagging AND to say “thank you” to them by their name, if they are wearing a name badge, because they are a real life person, that has to deal w/ all the same stuff we do. So recognizing them and the service they give to us, is just a small thing, but hopefully it touches them and makes their day.

    1. Agreed. This life would be so much happier for us all if we only lived these words. I appreciate thoughtfulness in others, so I know that when I show someone kindness, it will have touched them for a moment.

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