Kindness is free to give

Do you ever find yourself walking through the grocery store wondering, “Does anybody ever just smile and wave anymore?” If you are like me, then no you do not. I prefer it if nobody looks at or tries to talk to me honestly. If you walk past me in Wal-Mart and think, “Oh, there’s Paige. I should say hello.” I am probably thinking to myself, “Please, just act like you do not know me.” Isn’t that terrible? I think it may just be my antisocial personality combined with my lack of skills in making small talk.  

I really am terrible at it. I almost always embarrass myself by saying something really weird and then I have to beat myself up about it over the next few weeks as I replay the conversation in my head. I will eventually forget about it, just for it to randomly pop back up in my memory over the next few years and I will find myself cringing all over again. Does anybody else do this or is it just my brain’s own unique way of tormenting myself?  

Speaking of things I dread… Have you recently found yourself having to make a phone call to set up an appointment for something just to get off the phone wondering, “Why are people so rude these days?” 

This happened to me yesterday, I called to make a dentist appointment and I was having to get my records transferred from a different office to the new one I was wanting to start using. You would have thought that I was requesting that they hitchhike across town to pick them up in person or something. I had no idea that sending an extra email would absolutely ruin their day, but I guess I was wrong.  

I know everyone has had similar experiences and thoughts at times. Some of you may get upset over things like this while others are just used to it and never think about it again and the rest of you may wonder if there is anything you can do to change these types of interactions. Well, today may be your day to shine because it is “Random Acts of Kindness Day.” 

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation began in Denver, Colorado in 1995, so it is fairly new, but over the last couple of decades they have grown into an internationally recognized nonprofit organization. They are dedicated to spreading the idea that one small and random act of kindness can go a long way, possibly leading to a much greater and more positive outcome in the world we live in today.  

This is something everyone can do, and it does not have to cost money or a ton of energy to just put a little kindness out into the universe.  

After reading up on the foundation and its purpose, I thought it would be cool to get the girls involved and maybe spread a little cheer at their school today. The Random Acts of Kindness website has a ton of ways that children can spread kindness at school such as simply thanking a teacher, sharing, playing with someone at recess that may be sitting alone, picking up trash on the playground or just giving someone a high-five.  

You can spread kindness at work by leaving a “thank you” sticky note on your colleague’s desk, bringing your boss or employees coffee or helping relieve someone of their workload by lending a hand.  

I came across a couple of easy and great ideas that I thought the girls would love for spreading kindness in the community like creating positive bookmarks and hiding them at the library, decorating the lunch bags at the local food pantry, asking an elderly person in our neighborhood if they can help to do anything in their yard or mail postcards to our military.  

Random acts of kindness do not have to be a big and extravagant gesture and much like Christmas – when you give, it makes you feel good, too. Whatever acts of service you may choose to do, even if it feels small and insignificant, just know you are making a difference for both the giver and recipient of your act of kindness.  

Personally, I will work on smiling more and paying a compliment to a random stranger I may come across in the grocery store. I guess I will brush up on my small talk skills, as well even if it means embarrassing myself with my awkwardness that I am sure will haunt me over the years to come.

(Paige Nash is a wife, mom, digital journalist for Webster Parish Journal and publisher for Bienville Parish Journal.)

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