Wednesday, November 9, 2016
I had planned on publishing this post tomorrow. Then again, I had also planned on Hillary winning the election, so this is going live a day early.
First, I just want to say that as a woman, I am scared right now. However, I'm also a privileged, middle-class, straight, white, cisgender woman. So I recognize that no matter how intense my fear and grief are right now, they do not match those of the LGBTQ, Black, Muslim, Mexican, and other communities that our next president has targeted. This post is not intended to overlook or minimize those feelings, nor do I think posts like this will be all it takes to offer comfort. My intention is only to spotlight kindness amidst all this uncertainty.
Because I don't know what else to do right now.
I still have to believe that most people are truly kind. Kind people are usually also humble, which is a sweet and endearing quality, but that means we rarely talk openly about our own acts of human kindness. Yes, we share stories all over social media about other people doing good things, but unless someone with a great camera phone and eleventy-billion Twitter followers sees YOU doing your usual kindness thing, no one would ever know.
I propose that today we let go of our humbleness. At the risk of appearing showy and boasting, I want us to tell the world all about our goodness. Because if we don't talk about it, how can we affect change?
Our country needs you to step out of your comfort zone and tell us your stories. Did you pay for a stranger's groceries? Did you jump to help another person pick up the armload of stuff they dropped all over the ground? Did you take the time out of your day to stop and help someone with a dead car battery?
Tell us! Don't think of it as bragging or self-serving. No one will accuse you of being ingenuine or fishing for compliments or showing off. Not here. Not now. Consider this your platform to spread and inspire human kindness.
Please join me and some of my bloggy homegirls and share your true counts of kindness on social media, or your blog if you have one. Just use the hashtag #ShowMeYourKindness so we can find your stories. Also, please shamelessly borrow the top image to share in your posts. I designed it, and it's yours to use freely.
You can also include a link to this post (http://www.awideline.com/2016/11/show-me-your-kindness.html) and/or mention me @Mel_AWideLine on Twitter if you need to be like, "See, I'm not being all 'look at me.' I'm telling you this story for the good of humanity!" Then come back here and leave a link to your blog post and/or social media post in the comments below so everyone else can find you and hear your story.
Any blogger who writes a similar post calling for kindness stories, please let me know, and I will continue to update this post with links to your posts.
Can we be louder than the anger, ignorance, and hate? Don't keep your kindness quiet anymore. Come on, let's see it. #ShowMeYourKindness
To start, I'll show you mine:
In our part of sunny California exists a rather large homeless population. My kids' favorite restaurant is a pizza place downtown that has a small courtyard right outside of it, and homeless people often rest there when it's warm. One day, we offered the leftover pizza we had boxed up to a man sitting in the grass, and he was so excited and grateful.
That experience led to an important teachable moment for my 5-year-old son, Quinn, about kindness and helping others. The sadness in Q's eyes when he realized that some people didn't have food or toys or a place to live was heartbreaking. As tempting as it was to shield him from that truth, putting him in a spoiled little bubble does not teach empathy or compassion.
That experience really affected Quinn and spurred what I call a "giving spree." Now, Quinn insists that we box up any uneaten food in case we see a homeless person on our way home. And any time we get in the car, no matter where we're going, he'll often ask me if we have any food with us just in case someone needs it. As a mom who learned to always have snacks at the ready, I stash boxes of Clif bars in the car, and we hand them out to anyone on the street who needs food. I even keep doggie treats in the car in case they have a dog with them.
These small gestures not only help people in need, but they set an example for my children. I am humbly proud (because today, that's officially a thing and not an oxymoron) that my children see me doing these acts of human kindness and are now doing them, too. I'm teaching them to give, to care, and to truly see people who usually exist in our periphery. The most important job in this lifetime is to raise a generation of loving individuals who understand the importance of selflessly helping others, giving back, and always, ALWAYS being kind.
Please share your stories of kindness with the hashtag #ShowMeYourKindness and please share yours, as well. The world needs a lot of love today and every day.