3+ME: Random acts of kindness don’t have to include snacks (but it’s nice when they do)

Apparently today is Easter.

I completely forgot.

Until five days ago, anyway.

I mean, yes, I’ve seen ads for Easter, and promotions, and decorations. My mom was even talking about making a bunny cake and coloring eggs this weekend with my stepkids.

You’d think I would have made the connection that it was THIS Sunday.

But nope. Oblivious.

Until a lovely fellow came into the newsroom (five days ago) and handed each of us a chocolate bunny in recognition of the holiday that β€” oh! apparently is NOW!

It was quite generous of him, and I was immensely thankful. (I’m always thankful for snacks.)

He isn’t a manager or anyone who works here; he’s just someone from the community that we’ve worked with for years.

In other words, he didn’t have to do that. No one made him. He just did, and it brightened my day.

(It also finally kicked my brain into gear that Easter wasn’t in two or three weeks, but THIS week.)

I appreciated his kind gesture.

The world needs more people like that, people who make a point of being kind. (People who randomly bring around snacks are also appreciated, but I suppose this does go deeper than that.)

My mom has said she’s never regretted being kind to someone. No matter how the receiving party accepted or didn’t accept that kindness, she never regretted being the giver of said kindness.

We’re trying to remind my stepkids that kindness like that is always something worth doing.

That’s why we talk about it every night over dinner.

For over a year so far, we’ve had a “roses and thorns” discussion each night the kids are at our house, when we talk about the best (rose) and worst (thorn) parts of our day. But we also added an extra category, the “kind and helpful” part of our day.

“What’s something kind or helpful you’ve done for someone else?” we ask each other.

Of all our discussions, that question is routinely the hardest one to answer.

Because making an effort to be kind is sometimes tricky. Often, it isn’t something just sitting in front of us waiting for us to do it. We have to actively look for ways to be kind.

Even the little things, like holding the door for someone, or complementing a stranger on her outfit, or sharing a toy with a friend, still count.

“I helped my sister with her homework,” my stepson says.

“A kid in my class broke his foot last week, so I helped hand his crutches to him today,” my stepdaughter says.

It’s a mindset, trying to find ways to be kind. With practice, like anything else, it can become a habit. And by talking about it all the time, we’re hoping to encourage that in the kids.

Honestly, having the “kind and helpful” discussion helps me, too, be more conscious of how I’m treating others. I’ll put away an extra cart from the parking lot at the grocery store (or wave and smile the picketers if that particular grocery store happens to be on strike at the moment). I’ll let a few more people merge ahead of me when we’re sitting in traffic. I’ll send a note or a text to a friend who’s having a rough day (or even just to say hi).

And sometimes, yes, I’ll even bring a snack back to the office.

Since it’s Easter (today! who knew?), I thought we all could use a little reminder to be a bit more kind to our fellow humans, even in the small things. We never know how much it could brighten someone else’s day.

Or remind them of an upcoming holiday. Because sometimes they need that, too.

Originally published in The Herald News on April 21, 2019.

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