single mom

On kindness

Few are the things in life that are as simple as being kind.

Kindness: the quality of being friendly, generous, considerate.

Like many parents, kindness is a quality I strive to instil in my son. We regularly talk about how important it is to be kind, even when (or especially when) others are not kind to us. At his school, they refer to acts of kindness as “bucket fillers”, so we often talk about how we can fill the buckets of others and how we know when our buckets need filling, too. Our world is full of empty buckets right now.

And that’s scary.

But the world is also filled with people trying so desperately to fill buckets, and that’s a wonderful thing.

The truth is that it’s easy to get lost in the negativity, the sad stories, the horror. It’s very easy to become cynical, and it can be so very hard to come back to the other side of that. Earlier today, I was feeling down.

The news headlines made my heart hurt; my email inbox made my head hurt; I was disgusted by the behaviour of people from whom I expected more. In short, I was fed up. It was at the end of a long day, after a conversation that made my heart feel just a little lighter, that I packed my things and started out of the office. With my arms full of stuff and the weight of the day besides, I must have looked exasperated and unhappy. I threw my bodyweight into the door to open it, and at the same time a gentleman opened the next door I was about to slam into. I smiled my thanks, and he complimented me on my smile and offered a piece of advice. It was all over in less than 20 seconds, and yet it was by far the best 20 seconds of my day.

There will never be a time when acting kindly is inappropriate: a simple thanks, a kind hello – even just a smile. My “bucket”, my heart and my mind  are full tonight.

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