What if I woke up with only on goal in mind for the day?
TO BE KIND!
To focus on the quality of my interactions with others. And in every interaction, big or small, to do my best to convey a sense of value for the other person.
It really shouldn't be that hard.
When my 6-year-old is calling me to come and look at the progress he's made building lego's, for the upteenth time, can I do so with less hesitation and more genuine interest?
When my 13-year-old needs help finding her ballet leotard that I told her to put away, can I push aside my frustration and give up a little of my time to help her find it?
Can I be slower to react to the impatient drivers around me and quicker to thank those who serve me?
Can I fill the world with just a little more love?
I tend to view the success of my day by going through all the tasks I've accomplished. The more productive I am, the more successful I feel. But maybe success is more about how I make others feel and less about how many things I can check off my to-do list.
My day is made up of hundreds of small moments and brief interactions. But I know even the smallest and seemingly least significant of these has the power to make a difference. Even the simplest of gestures can warm a heart and brighten a day.
I know this because I'm the recipient of many small acts of kindness. This is especially true when I'm out in the community with my disabled 16-year-old. The taller and stronger he gets, the more apparent it is how ill-equipped I am to manage him physically.
I remember a time when I was checking out at the grocery store. David was sitting in the berth of the cart with his knees pulled up to his chin. It was a tight fit for his lanky body, but my only assurance of containing him. When he's not in the cart, he's known to dart off, and it doesn't help that he's faster than me.
In that particular store he loves to ride the elevator to the upper level and take himself on a self-guided tour of the manager's office and break room. I didn't have time to play cat-and-mouse that day and I only needed a few items, so he got to ride in the cart.
I guess it was an unusual sight for the older Hispanic man at checkout, but he didn't respond that way. He came up to David and patted him on the back. In broken English he warmly expressed, "You a good boy. You a good boy." He then looked up at me, nodded, smiled and simply said, "I know." I know was his way of saying, I see you and I acknowledge your struggle.
I was touched by the warmth and sincerity of this man's genuineness. It was a short interaction, fleeting at best, but I have not forgotten it.
Don't underestimate the power of kindness.
Your simple words and brief interactions have the power to make a difference in a world hungry for human contact.