08 Jan An act of kindness – teenagers can be kind
Today’s blog is all about kindness. To me, the word seems to be a bit watered down and overused these days. Many people talk about the need for more kindness in the world, and I agree, but what does the word ‘kindness’ mean to you? Do you have thoughts about kindness towards people, animals or the environment?
“Kindness is a gift everyone can afford to give.”
A true act of kindness
Choosing the topic of kindness came about because I wanted to share something with you that happened to me recently. It had such a big impact and it was an act of kindness, but its origins were so simple and innocent. I had the urge to share this to rekindle your passion and enthusiasm to show kindness to people because teenagers can be kind. After all, it costs nothing but a few moments to think about saying or doing something that could make someone’s day.
I was at a business breakfast meeting. Picture the scene, a bunch of smartly dressed business people standing around in a conference room, drinking coffee and chatting before the start of a sit-down meeting. Much to my surprise a colleague handed me a sealed card. I wondered why he was giving me a card, but when I opened it I was even more surprised and … thankful. It was a thank you card. Let me share with you what was written in the card, it was so wonderful.
‘Just a little note to say thank you for my sticky man, he’s brilliant and loves going to school with me. I found your 10 day challenge really hard, my dad said I could have a treat if I completed it, I tried really hard, after lots and lots of resets, I’ve completed it!’
Then there was the most beautiful little hand drawn emoji, yellow smiley face!
‘So we are off to the toy shop on Saturday to get my generation doll. Could I ask you a favour? Could my little brother have a sticky man too? He keeps hiding mine so I’d like him to have his own, thank you again.’
The handwritten message finished with a big ‘thank you’ from a young lady who is just 11 years old. How cool is that? I was so over the moon! When did you last receive a handwritten thank you card? Or send one?
“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.”
A little effort goes a long way
When you were little did you write thank you cards when you received presents for your birthday or at Christmastime? We did in our family because it was a chance to show our appreciation.
Do you think that we’ve lost the sense of how lovely it is to receive something handwritten? You may think about it differently to me because you’ve grown up with electronic devices, instant communication methods and it’s so easy to send an email, a text message or a social media message. To handwrite something takes a bit more effort, but it is so worth it to see, hear or watch how it pleased the receiver is. And how you feel just by knowing how they feel!
Who could you write a thank you card to? A family member who has looked after you, a friend for just being there, or a teacher who encouraged you far beyond their job required them to.
“Kindness is free, sprinkle that stuff everywhere.”
Complaints versus compliments
I used to work in retail so I understand how quick people are to complain. Have you ever been on the receiving end of a complaint? You will notice it more if you have a team captain role or head of year position at school. If you’ve started to work and have a job in retail or customer service you will also know what I’m talking about. It happens everywhere. Managers have to deal with grouchy customers and try to calm the situation and entire departments exist in large businesses that have to respond to complaint emails, letters and social posts.
People are quick to turn to Twitter, Facebook or Google Reviews to have a moan about someone or something. Sometimes it’s just a case of venting because the complainer wants their poor experience acknowledged. There are also those negative people that are serial complainers and seem to have nothing better to do! Yet how often do you see or hear praises being sung? Not as often as complaints that’s for sure!
I try to congratulate people or companies where I can because I know how gratefully they are received. Recently I had afternoon tea with my girls and my grandkids at Hoarcross Hall near Derby. It’s a really swish spa. The service was wonderful and the food delicious so I took a photo and posted it on Facebook, tagging the hall to say what a lovely time we were having. Hoarcross liked my post so I was pleased that they had the opportunity to read how happy they had made us feel.
It really is delightful to receive praise. Whether it’s a handwritten note, a bunch of flowers, a packet of biscuits or a thank you card.
Kindness goes back to good old fashioned values where people look out for each other. Simple acts such as taking the bins out for a neighbour, picking up a paper or cutting the grass. It’s a community spirit that can sometimes feel lost these days.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
Suggestions for random acts of kindness
Ultimately it’s good to be kind and it can make someone’s day to be on the receiving end. If this has ignited your desire to be kind in some way have a read of the following suggestions.
- Say hello to a stranger
- Go to the books you haven’t read for years that are getting dusty – why not donate them to local library or charity so that other people can get enjoyment from them?
- Carry out a chore for someone – weeding for an elderly neighbour or putting their bins out as an example
- Compliment a parent on child’s behaviours – I received one about my daughter the other day and I felt so proud
- Give someone a hug – they are really good for you!
- Let someone go ahead in the queue at the supermarket – they will feel so special
- Send someone a small anonymous gift to say thank you
- Send a nice email to a company or leave a review if you had a good experience at their venue or if you really like a product purchased
- Buy someone a drink or leave money for someone less fortunate. Some coffee shops allow you to do this and it’s nice to do it anonymously, to know that you’ve done someone a good deed and made someone smile
- Connect with an old friend, someone you’ve not seen for months or years. It’s a wonderful feeling if you receive a message that you’re not expecting and someone says they miss you and are thinking of you.
I could give you many more examples, but use your imagination to think of more and Google some ideas to see where your research takes you. If nothing else, write someone a thank you note.
I did give the little 11 year old lady a sticky man for her brother by the way and her act of kindness still makes me smile every time I think about it.
Choose the life you want to lead
If you have any more suggestions or a story that you would like to share, please do connect with me on social media using the links below or send me a private email if you prefer.
Whatever you do, make your act of kindness humorous and genuine.