We hear the word “contagious” many times each day now, and not in a positive way. But do you know that “contagious” can be used in a POSITIVE way? Kindness is contagious. How do you define kindness? The Be Kind People Project® defines kindness as intentionally extending good to others. It begins with empathy, or a feeling, which leads to a thought, and ends in an action or words for the benefit of someone else. Kindness goes to the very heart of how people honor, respect, communicate with, and treat one another. And kindness is free!
During these trying times, it is essential for the good of our society, and ourselves, to practice and share kindness. People are under stress for many reasons. Kindness mitigates that stress and helps people to realize that all is not negative and bad. Your act does not have to be big. Little, sincere, thoughtful things are the ones that touch people the most.
With children not returning to school for the remainder of the school year, parents have assumed the role of Principal, teacher, chef, comforter, and everything in between. So, how can we work together as a family to spread kindness? How can we show kindness to our family, friends, and the community while we are following social distancing guidelines? And, how do we extend kindness to ourselves? We get creative.
There are three areas of kindness that we can and should practice. These areas are kindness to others, kindness to our family, and kindness to ourselves. None of the three should be overlooked as all are important and tend to reinforce one another.
Kindness to others can be practiced in numerous ways. Send an email to check on another person. Drop off a small gift with a note to a neighbor (one you might not even know) to let them know you hope they are well and that you are available if they need anything. “Hope this brightens your day!” will bring a smile to someone’s face. You can leave it on their porch, ring the doorbell, and then stand on the sidewalk. When they answer the door, just smile and say, “I left something for you.” Make a grocery shopping checklist and include items such as milk, bread, and even band aids, etc., put it on someone’s door with a note, “Check the items you need, and I will go to the store for you.” Mow someone’s lawn. Pull weeds in your neighbor’s yard. Leave a note or draw a picture and leave it on your mailbox for your mail carrier. Write notes of encouragement to health care workers, first responders, grocery store workers, and others on the front line. This is a great way to teach your children the importance of sacrificing for others while encouraging them to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Imagine the delight in someone’s heart when they receive an encouraging note from your child. Wash your neighbor’s car. And, how about Spring Caroling! As a family, stand in front of your neighbor’s home and sing – it doesn’t matter if you can carry a tune! Even with social distancing, you can do this as a family. Or stand in your yard and sing. For the elderly or people with compromised health, checking on them via phone or with a note left on their door is certainly something that can help them to feel less isolated and exposed. Offer to walk your neighbor’s dog, especially if you have an elderly neighbor who is unable to get out. Lastly, if you see neighbors outside, wave, smile, and say hi. Simple acknowledgment of one another during these tough times is a great kindness, and a smile goes a long way!
People have taken to social media to share musical gifts and talents to bring joy, hope, and a common purpose to our world. Write a poem, share a song vocally or instrumentally, or demonstrate how to make something. Share your talents.
Kindness to family is essential. Everyone is having to adapt to new routines, extended periods of close proximity, and all are dealing with issues that give rise to conflict or that simply cause stress. Taking time to talk, and more importantly, listen to a family member is a major act of kindness. Taking on the role of a servant with others in your family can go a long way toward reducing interpersonal stress. Preparing a meal for another person or helping with chores is another area of great kindness that can be shown. Play a game of charades with your family (and virtually with your neighbors). Keep a gratitude journal. There is always something for which to be thankful. Do things together outside. We live in a beautiful state with beautiful weather most of the time. Enjoy the sunshine. Take walks or bicycle together. Make salt dough ornaments together. The recipe can be found online.
Lastly, show kindness to yourself. As individuals, we are in control of our own attitude, and to a large extent, the degree to which we allow stress to impact us. Be kind to yourself. Get the proper amount of rest. Eat the rainbow. Stay hydrated. Take time to relax and do something you enjoy. Learn something new. Reflect on specific items in your environment that are stressful and think about how you can mitigate them, then take action. If it is not something that is in your control, then accept them and move on. Dealing with stress in concrete ways is an act of kindness to yourself. As THE BE KIND CREW® says, “BE KIND to me!” And give yourself some grace.
Just remember that the situation we are in right now is temporary. It will end soon. Kindness is the grease that keeps you moving and allows you to do so without too much wear and tear.
The Be Kind People Project has a vision of building a generation of respectful, responsible, healthy, and caring citizens and leaders. We believe that in a multi-cultural society, trust, understanding, tolerance, and kindness are the cornerstones of peace, order, and civility. We have updated our online resources, and the resources are FREE just by going to our website and registering (www.bkpp.org). As part of the online resources, there is a gratitude journal that you can download. You and your family will receive positive messages and reinforcements from THE BE KIND CREW every day. Ask your children about THE BE KIND CREW. Many will recognize them, and they can share with you what happened at their school when THE CREW made a visit.
We want to practice The Be Kind Pledge™ in everything we do and encourage you to do the same – Be Encouraging, Be Supportive, Be Positive, Be Helpful, Be Honest, Be Considerate, Be Thankful, Be Responsible, Be Respectful, and Be a Friend.
Few things last forever – but kindness does. Be a part of it and share!