The small moments. That’s what many of us remember when thinking about childhood memories, weddings, childbirth, or even a funeral. We think of small memories in that moment and we hold onto them. Have you ever realized you’re helping to create someone else’s small memories as well? I was at the store recently, and an older woman and I began talking in the check outline. We were making connections with careers, a college we both attended, and other random anecdotes. We said our goodbyes, and she had a big smile on her face. After leaving, I was wondering, did I make an impact in her life? Did I create a small moment of kindness that would have lasting effects? Did my polite behavior in the checkout line help bring joy to her life? I’d like to think so.
So why not do as the saying, “Spread kindness like confetti.”
A new year, a new you, right? That’s what many of us say as we write our goals, create vision boards, and find ways for us to improve ourselves. Many make goals to read more. To lose weight. To get together with friends and family more often (Hello, Covid! I’m sure that’s on all of our goal lists). But what if you could find ways to spread kindness and positivity in your world and those around you.
Three Positive Statements Before Bed
My husband and I started a tradition with our oldest son, as he was having a rough start to starting preschool, after staying at home with me for so long during my maternity leave which led into quarantine. At the end of the day, after reading stories before bedtime, we would each go around and say 3 of our favorite things that happened throughout the day. In the beginning, my three-year old’s answer revolved around things that had happened after school, usually an hour before bed. My husband and I would continue to model the behavior and state ours. As we continued the nightly tradition, we started hearing about his school day, friends, and fun activities he did during the day. I also remember having rough days, as we all did last year. But stopping to appreciate the good things that had happened during the day, made me realize that there were more good things than bad things that happened. It made me appreciate and stay positive, during a stressful time. It’s all about perspective.
Incorporate “Kindness Books” into the Day
How about children’s books? Those that know me, know my obsession with children’s literature. There are so many great books out there that naturally teach kids about being kind. These are great authentic books to read to little ones or have older children read independently or even to their siblings. You don’t have to have a full-blown discussion about the books, but you can easily pick up on if your child is having empathy as the story is being read.
- The Crayon Box that Talked by Shane Derolf
- The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
- Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
- Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev
- Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
- Martha Doesn’t Say Sorry by Samantha Berger
- Mine-O-Saur by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
- Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
- David Gets in Trouble by David Shannon
- Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
- Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
- Try a Little Kindness by Henry Cole
Random Acts of Kindness
The day I was heading back to work after being on an extended maternity leave, thanks to Covid, after being at home with my youngest for 18-months, I was feeling extra crappy and guilty for leaving my kiddos at their respectful schools to head to work. I stopped to get a coffee, and the person in front of me in line paid for my drink. I started to tear up. They had no idea the heaviness I was feeling that morning. Their small act of kindness put a smile on my face and helped me change my attitude. They created a small moment in my life, just by paying a few bucks for my coffee. This helped me think of ways I could add small acts of kindness to those around me. I started leaving my quarter in the Aldi cart for someone else. I left out snacks for all the delivery men/women who came to my house. I started writing notes and cards to those around me to let them know I was thinking of them.
I know we all want to work on ourselves and improvement is a great thing, but remember, everyone has had a pretty crazy year. I ask you to spread kindness and positivity as we head into this new year. You have no idea how the small actions you make might lead to a happier and more positive world.