The other day as I came out of my son’s preschool I looked back as I held the door to see if someone was behind. There was another mom coming out who was several steps away. It’s always hard to judge how close someone should be to hold the door for them, but I always err on the side of waiting a little longer than necessary. This mom jogged a few steps and thanked me by saying, “You didn’t have to do that!” Of course I didn’t HAVE to do that, but goodness- it was a small act of kindness that cost me nothing but a few seconds. Surely I can afford that for a stranger, right?
There were a few times this week when I was shown kindness, by both friends and strangers. It’s amazing what one nice, little act or word can do for someone. I’m still smiling about something that happened a few days ago! In this world it can be tough to navigate through the negativity. It’s so nice when small acts of kindness can interject a small dose of happy into someone’s day.
I thought I’d share just a few, free ways to spread kindness to others. Here are five easy ways to shine a light for someone:
- Hold the door. Easy, right? I’m always thankful when someone holds the door for me, as it’s so easy to be in our own thoughts and thinking about where we need to rush off to next. Holding the door is just a nice gesture.
2. Let someone with less items go in front of you in a line. I do this often if I notice that someone behind me has just a few things. It’s nice, plus it gives me more time to organize my items. Win-win!
3. Give a compliment! Or just say hello. This can be hard for introverts like me, who may have a harder time verbalizing their kind thoughts. But boy, it feels good when you do! A few years ago I was leaving a park and I saw a woman walking in with a group of kids. She was obviously a teacher of young toddlers, and I just smiled and said hello. She smiled back and we walked away. Then she said, “Wait! I have to tell you. I just needed that smile and hello today.” It made me feel so nice that she felt so nice! It wasn’t a compliment, either. Just a simple hello can make someone feel noticed.
4. Wave to someone who stops his car to let you cross the street. I’m trying to teach this to my kids, as I often notice people don’t wave to say thank-you. It’s a simple gesture that might not be important to some, but again it’s just a nice thing to do.
5. Take a cart and put it away for someone. There have been several times over the years that someone has taken my cart when I’m done loading my things in the parking lot. Sometimes it’s so they have a cart they need, other times they’ve seen my full hands and I’ve appreciated the help. Either way, it’s a kind gesture.
Being kind is even more important to me now that I’m a mom. I try hard to teach my kids and to be an example of kindness to others. It’s true that one small act of kindness can be a day- or week- or maybe even life-changer for someone. So, will you help me spread kindness this weekend?