In our previous note, we explored how important our words can be when we speak to others. They have the power of life or death. So, let’s start out on our trail today looking for ways that we can show kindness to others.
Kindness is such an important attribute that we should have in our lives. Being kind to others is a powerful way to put our words into action and is one of the fruits, or outward manifestations, of a loving heart toward others.
Kindness should be planned, when possible, but performing random and unplanned acts of kindness to others each day should also be part of who we are as people. At first, completing random acts of kindness may not be natural for you, but the more times you do it, the easier it will become until it becomes a habit in your life.
So, as we hike on up our next two trails, we will explore 15 steps that we can take on our trek of life to set these habits in place. Think about how kindness can be a fundamental part of creating a living legacy. Indeed it needs to be woven into the very fabric of our lives, so it is part of who we are.
Being kind is always a choice that we make. Look for opportunities at all times to be kind. This is so important that Proverbs 3:3-4 puts it this way, “Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation.”
Random acts of kindness are a means by which we make a deliberate attempt to brighten another person’s day by doing something thoughtful, nice, and caring. Kindness is a way of showing others that they are special and important. Even when the world is unkind, we need to be known for our kindness to all. Our kindness should not be dependent on if a person deserves it, but rather our desire to be kind.
Here are the first 6 steps on our trail for encouraging others with our random acts of kindness.
Be kind. Kindness as an attitude is infectious. When you’re willing to share your kindness, others will be inspired by your example and think about doing something kind themselves. Fan that flame by being kind to everyone.
Be thoughtful. Random acts of kindness can be shown through thoughtfulness about the needs of others. How many times do you wish someone could have been more thoughtful before they did or said something? Try to be an example of this for others to follow.
Put someone else first. If you get to the grocery store check-out line at the same time as someone else, smile and wave them through first. When you’re stuck in traffic and the last thing you want to do is let a car get in front of you, just remember that somebody else had to let you in and repay the favor to the next person!
Use your manners as a form of kindness. Manners aren’t dead. They’ve just been forgotten in many ways. Yet, manners are the bedrock of courteous and kind relations and their use is an indication of respect for others. Hold doors open for others, hold an umbrella over someone in the rain, and be on time for everyone you’ve promised to meet. Say thank you, and whenever anyone does something for you, be grateful and let them know it.
Give out compliments generously. There’s usually an awkward silence when you’re stuck in an elevator or waiting in a queue with a stranger. Instead of staring at the floor, find something you like about the other person and compliment him/her on it. Not only will it make him/her feel good, it just might kick off a conversation with a new friend.
Surprise your neighbor by telling him or her how sharp he/she looks today. Tell your boss how truly clever he/she is and mean it! Tell your assistant how truly clever he/she is and mean it. Praise any subordinate who’s stayed late or done anything extra on the job honestly. Notice those things. Praise your child for her/his skills and good thinking. Make it something out of the blue that you’ve noticed rather than run-of-the-mill schoolwork or chores. Write a handwritten note to a friend or family member telling them how much you care about them.
Think about people who quietly make a difference in your community and thank them. Think of all the people in your life whose faces and names you’ll never know but who serve and protect you day after day.
Send some prepackaged treats to your local police station, paramedics, or fire department, with a card letting them know how much you appreciate their service to the community. But make sure to also acknowledge the people we take more for granted that make things “tick.” Consider thanking your garbage man or janitor.
Send your child’s clean and good condition toys and books to a local preschool. Say thank you to the early childhood caretakers and teachers who do so much for young children.
Pop over to your neighbor’s house with a freshly baked cake. Yes, your neighbors are an important part of your community, and they make a difference just by being about. Acknowledge their importance and role in your life.
Cheer up the lonely. Lonely people are everywhere, in all walks of life, of all ages. Helping lonely people feel wanted is a hugely rewarding random act of kindness.
Write a letter or send a card to a stranger. It only takes a few minutes to write, but a letter or card can make someone else’s day or even their week. Think of all the people who are lonely, isolated, or just in need of cheering up – soldiers fighting overseas, kids in juvenile detention centers, or elderly people in nursing homes. Do a simple search online, and you’ll find services that will provide you with lists of people who’d love to hear from you.
Pay for someone else’s coffee in the line. If they’ve got time, offer them a chat.
Visit a retirement home and spend time talking to the residents. You could offer to read to them, sing for them, or even get them involved in writing poems, reading stories, or playing a game.
Being kind also implies that we will get rid of the unkind attributes in our lives, as mentioned in the letter that Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus in Chapter 4 verses 31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
Make each day count for we shall not pass this way again.