Rick decided to make over his appearance but didn’t warn me about it beforehand. I was only familiar with his pleasantly scruffy face and long hair. Last Wednesday, after he greeted me in his normally cheerful manner, it took me a few moments to recognize him.
First of all was his hair, it had been cut medium short and styled. Second was his beard, he had trimmed and carefully shaped it. Third was his clothing, instead of his usual cargo shorts and slogan tee-shirt, he sported khakis and a dressy polo.
The transformation was so stunning that I stood transfixed for several seconds. Soon, I congratulated him on his dapper appearance. Then I complimented him on his new look. I told Rick that he had succeeded in blowing me away. My words were completely spontaneous.
One of our mutual acquaintances had overheard my glowing praise and chimed in with her own positive comments. With each of our compliments, Rick smiled a little more. Finally, I allowed my young friend to explain his decision and his family’s reaction. Overall, everyone loves his new style. Best of all, his self-confidence has improved. Rick seems to have come out of his shell a bit more.
Clearly, everyone’s genuine, kind remarks made Rick’s day seem a lot better than usual. All of Rick’s friends’ remarks were authentic and not mere flattery. The simple act of kindly sharing our positive surprise hopefully gave Rick an even bigger boost in confidence. A side-benefit was that everyone Rick encountered that day, also felt happier for awhile.
“Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.”–Franklin D. Roosevelt
Cultivating a charitable attitude towards oneself and others eventually yields the habit of kindness. People who honestly believe in compassion, equality, and kindness unconsciously radiate these virtues. This is a traditional value that bolsters us individually and socially. There is more lasting strength in kindness than rudeness can ever carry out.
Our nation and the world have been suffering through a kindness deficit. The need for renewal of this virtue is long overdue. Any way we can be kind can help, even a little bit. This is one reason why “Be Kind to Humankind Week” was established.
Each day of the commemoration highlights a particular behavior to promote social well-being in every venue from the home, to the workplace, and in some cases, our prisons. Here are the suggested day by day goals:
Sunday: Do something to positively contribute to a charitable cause like a soup kitchen, children’s charity, or senior center. It can be any organization that has helping the less fortunate as its primary purpose. We might volunteer our help or contribute cash in a mutually satisfying way.
Monday: Drive our vehicles more courteously. We can dial back our habitual aggressive or hurried driving habits. Courteous driving is safer driving.
Tuesday: Carry out a random act of kindness. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, something simple and anonymous is OK. Offering or returning a favor, complimenting someone, or paying forward at a buffet line are a few ideas.
Wednesday: Offering help. This can range from volunteering for a community project, helping a sick friend clean her home or go shopping or donating something nice to charity.
Thursday: Be Kind to Humankind organizers call it “Thoughtful Thursday”. These are simple gestures like being supportive of a family member or friend; remembering to say please and thank you; or holding the door for a stranger.
Friday: The commemoration’s organizers call this “Forgive Your Foe Friday”. Day six is all about starting fresh by letting go of grudges. This is a highly personal day of kindness. Only you can decide who to forgive and for what infractions. Friday is the day to contemplate the profundity of forgiveness.
Saturday: The last day is “Speak Kind Words Saturday”. This is a day for consciously sharing kind words and encouragement. We can exercise more mindfulness and skill in our verbal and written communication. Everyone concerned will greatly benefit from skillful speech.
We can use whatever technique is the most effective reminder. To help ensure that I practice what I preach, I’ve written each day’s objectives on my large calendar. I look at this calendar often each day.
Be Kind to Humankind Week is completely voluntary. Perhaps you will collaborate in this effort, too.
The Blue Jay of Happiness contemplates some pithy wisdom from Lao Tzu. “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”