I believe in Kindness. Not just in acting kindly, but that kindness can save our world. Unfortunately, it seems to me we’ve become so busy and sometimes too greedy to take the time to help others. I say this is unfortunate because being kind makes us feel good and its contagious spreading ripples of joy. The beautiful thing is kindness comes in all shapes and sizes making it easy to be kind every day.
Just today while out on a walk several strangers and I greeted each other making us both smile. In the grocery store parking lot, I saw a middle aged woman stop to help an older woman put groceries into her car. A homeless man struck up a conversation with me and we both smiled widely as we shook hands and said goodbye. Each of these small acts of kindness took minutes, sometimes even seconds and they brightened our days. I’m sure the smile on my face from the first person who greeted me on the street spread to some of the others I passed.
I’m honored to be on the team for The Pollination Project’s Global Kindness Initiative. As I was thinking about writing this blog post about Kindness I thought it would be a great opportunity to share the real-life experiences I’ve already had with the wonderful people I’m working with on the project. In a short time, I’ve been inspired by the wonderful variety of the kindness they are spreading.
While at the TPP retreat for the Kindness and Youth teams we went to the town of Fairfax, California to do a “Happiness Sprinkling” from my dear friend and Global Kindness team partner Laura Lavigne (www.facebook.com/HappinessSprinklingProject.) We stood on a street corner with big signs saying things like “You Rock” and “Free Hugs.” It was super fun as people passed smiling, waving and honking their horns. You can think of it as just a momentary ray of sunshine in someone’s life, but the sense of caring can change one’s day and in some cases their lives.
Another Global Kindness team partner, Liz Buechele, came to visit me in Las Vegas while criss-crossing the country on The Smile Project road trip (www.facebook.com/smileprojectgroup.) Liz, her delightful friend Zack and I went downtown amongst the crowds of tourists to do a little clowning. In a few hours we brought smiles to the faces of hundreds of people. For me those smiles are part and parcel of making an effort to overcome my fears and to help others do the same.
I can’t finish this blog post without mentioning Chris McGilvery team leader for TPP’s Global Kindness Initiative. Though much younger than me I look up to him as he has made kindness the central theme of his life and work with TPP and Give More HUGS (www.facebook.com/givemorehugs.) As I’ve gotten know Chris I’ve seen both those small acts of kindness and huge plans and sacrifices to help others in ways which continue to have impact as they touch more and more lives.
Stopping to help someone with car trouble, donating some extra stuff from around the house or passing on a kind word or note are small things which can really make a difference. Of course, there are those bigger, more challenging acts of kindness which take sacrifices like giving up something important to us or spending money to help others we might spend on ourselves. In my experience the joy felt being kind has taught me the simple truth that it really is “better to give than receive.”