“The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion and compassion and humor and style and generosity and kindness.”- Maya Angelou
A beloved Aesop’s Fable tells the tale of a lion and a mouse. After being captured by the lion, the mouse begs for his life. The mouse explains to the lion that he may someday be able to help him. The lion reluctantly decides to let the mouse go. Later, the mouse chews the tangled lion from a net and saves his life. “You thought I was too little to do you a good turn. But see, you owe your life to a poor little mouse.”
We live in a fast-paced, individualistic world. When opportunities present themselves, we grab them to better our own lives and the lives of our families. But what opportunities do we have to help our neighbors? Showing random acts of kindness not only gives our neighbors a boost, but studies show it improves our own quality of life.
People need kindness. Try this:
- Count your blessings. What are the largest blessings in your life? Take the time to give thanks for your opportunities and achievements, family and friends.
- Remember your experiences. What were the most challenging moments in your life? How did you persevere? Think about the one person who helped you along the way.
- Pass the kindness on. We never know our neighbor’s challenges. Remember the sticky spot you were in, and consider granting the kindness you received to somebody else.
Random acts of kindness are simple ways to give a neighbor a reminder of compassion from those around them. We must keep in mind that golden rule to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” How would you want to be treated?
Here are some ways to spread kindness in your community:
- Leave notes of kindness. Write on post-it notes encouraging words for a stranger. Stick the notes in a public space to give a random person a boost. Who knows? You may make someone’s day.
- Visit a sick friend. Being sick limits our accessibility. We can’t do the same things as we could before. Lift a friend’s spirits by genuinely listening to them. Find out how they are doing and what you can do to help. If you can’t make a trip to the hospital, write a note to remind a friend you are thinking of them.
- Be polite to an enemy. Can’t stand a coworker you are forced to see every day? Make an effort to be kind. Kindness will spread with each experience.
- Volunteer at a food bank. Learning about the hardships in your community makes you a better citizen. Giving back to those who may live right next door to you will help our community as a whole. Schedule a day to help sort food with your family.
To volunteer at a food bank, contact Associated Churches of Fort Wayne & Allen County at 260-422-3528 and ask for Gretchen.