Is there anyone who has not benefited from a random act of kindness? Remember how it felt when someone, maybe a total stranger, did a very nice thing just for you? It felt good, didn't it?
This is your opportunity to return the kindness, or pay it forward as they say.
Feb. 11 to 17 is National Random Acts of Kindness Week. Your mission -- should you choose to accept it -- is to perform an act of kindness for as many people as possible. And you don't have to wait until Feb. 11 to start.
It doesn't have to be a big thing, or costly. It can be as simple as greeting everyone you see with a smile or as complicated as sending a special gift to someone who is living through some bad times. Sometimes just a phone call to check on a neighbor or friend can be considered a kindness.
One friend of mine always pays for the food of a military person at fast food restaurants. That, of course, is an act of kindness and gratitude.
I'm not long on money but I do make a point of shaking the hand of any service person I come in contact with and thanking them for their service. I guess that falls strictly under the category of gratitude, though.
Another person I know has a card ministry. She's always sending cards or notes of encouragement to others. I've been a beneficiary of her kindness, and her cards always give me a lift.
One thing I love to do is pay a total stranger a compliment, whether it's about their appearance or how well behaved their children are. It's interesting to see their reaction, from pleased to shocked, to thinking I'm a crazy woman (which I don't dispute).
A co-worker of mine has a different spin on the "golden rule" and expresses kindness by treating others the way he would want them to treat his mother or another loved one. You can't go wrong with that attitude.
I'm really fortunate. I work with a whole passel of kind folks. It seems they are always doing a kindness for the old lady (me).
Someone once described my brother as the kindest man he ever met. I thought about that for a long time because I always thought of him as the most generous man I know. I guess kindness and generosity do go hand in hand.
There are so many ways to be kind.
Be kind with your words. Be generous with your praise and sparing with your criticisms. It's a human failing to remember hurtful words more than the good ones. We should guard our tongues so that the good words outnumber the bad ones 100 times over.
My sister, who went to be with Jesus just before Christmas, was very kind. Her entire life exemplified the word. But even in her darkest hours of suffering she would always, always remark on the kindness of others. Her daughter, my niece, commented that her mother never seemed to make the connection that her mother's own kindness prompted the kindness of others.
Why don't we all strive to make this world a kinder, gentler place with just one act of kindness? Then pray that kindness prompts another and another and another.
Let's work together to make the National Random Acts of Kindness Week a springboard to a better world.