Most of us, I think, would consider ourselves to be kind people. As Canadians, we are known for our friendliness and kindness. It’s part of our cultural identity, right?
But… How intentional are we about kindness in our day to day lives? Is it something that we are thinking about, talking about, acting with, and noticing as we do all of the “things” and cross items off of our to-do lists? The kindness that we share, experience, and observe is worth recognizing and celebrating. Oftentimes it really is the little things, the small gestures and acts, that can mean so much and that can fill our hearts and souls with joy. When we are being intentional in our day to day lives, we are taking action in a way that is purposeful and deliberate. The decisions and choices we make reflect what we have decided is really important to us.
So, how can we get intentional about kindness? It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. It can be simple but purposeful.
We tend to notice what we are thinking about and what is in the forefront of our minds. Did you hear a story on the radio about the kindness of strangers? Did you see someone helping another person when you were out for a walk? Did someone go above and beyond when you didn’t expect it?
TALK ABOUT KINDNESS:
Share the kindness that you noticed with others. Ask your family about the kindness that they noticed or experienced during their day. Talk about what it means to be kind. Celebrate and recognize the kindness that your kids show one another, you, their friends, and even themselves.
INTERACT WITH KINDNESS: There are many opportunities in our day that, with just a little bit more effort, we can inject some kindness. Say “Good Morning” to someone that you are passing by on a walk. Ask the cashier about how their day is going. Let a busy mom with young children ahead of you in line.
COMMUNICATE WITH KINDNESS:
There are so many people in our lives that we appreciate for so many reasons but how often do we take the time to recognize them or thank them. Send your child’s teacher an email knowing how much you appreciate all that they do. Phone your friend and let them know how special they are to you. When you are tucking in your child at bedtime, let them know how proud you are of them for taking on a new challenge.
GESTURES OF KINDNESS:
Look for opportunities to do something kind for others. Shovel the snow for your next-door neighbour. Make a card for your spouse with the Top 10 reasons that you think that they are pretty awesome. Bake some cookies or muffins and drop them off at a friend’s house. Buy a coffee for the people in line behind you at the drive-through.
There is this idea that the energy that we put out into the world is the energy that comes back to us. Imagine if we all got more intentional about kindness and if this was the lens that we were looking through each day. A little bit of kindness, especially with some intention behind it, can truly go a long way.