Being Kind – Week 4

What did I do this week that was kind? Um, no. I am not gonna write about any kind thing I may or may not have done.

Zipped Lips photographed by Colin Thomas
Not gonna!
“Why not?” You 

Maybe my perception of behaving kindly reflects my parents’ generation and their admonitions:

“Don’t brag.” “Don’t fish for compliments.” The Greatest Generation

I do kind things out of the goodness of my heart, and I think telling people about the kind things I do diminishes the goodness of my heart. It’s fine if nobody else feels that way, but I do, and hey, I’m the one I have to live with.

But because of something that happened yesterday, I have a single exception I’m willing to make to share a single story.

It’s Election Season in the USofA. You know those everyday people who volunteer to cold call local members of their party to try and secure support for their candidate?  The good citizens who are maligned and hung up on like telemarketers who call at dinner time? One of them called my house yesterday, asking to speak to my son, who wasn’t home.

A little background. I have a land line. (I have a cell phone, too, but I don’t give that number to many people at all, not for my business and certainly not for people who want to sell me things.) My land line is hooked up to an answering machine, and the machine is on 24 hours a day. This is my outgoing message:

“Hi. This is Sue’s voice. If we’re available, and you stay on the line, someone will pick up the phone. If not, leave a message. If you don’t hear from us by tomorrow, give us another call.” My voice on the answering machine.

Both my numbers are on the National Do Not Call List, but I still get pre-recorded robo calls for carpet cleaning, hey-you’ve-won-something-that-will-only-cost-you…, and programs that will somehow improve my house or my life. And lots of hang-up calls. Sigh. But Election Season calls about the candidates are exempt from the Do Not Call List restrictions, so I’ve heard several candidate endorsement recordings and I really don’t mind.

The call that came in yesterday was a living, breathing young woman, wanting to give my son her pitch on why her candidate was the right guy to put on the City Council. I listened for a few seconds and decided I could save her some time and thankless effort. I picked up the phone.

“Hi! Brylan’s not here right now, but I thought I’d just tell you that we filled out our ballots today to mail them in, and we both voted for your guy.” I actually used his name, but you don’t need to know it.
“Oh!… Really?… That’s great! Thank you!” Very excited young woman doing a thankless job.

The gratitude in her voice brought tears to my eyes.

Whatever goodness came from my heart to perform that simple little human interaction was more than returned. And that’s the only reason I feel okay sharing this with you — I received more than I gave, so now I have a little goodness to spare.

How do you feel about mentioning the kind things you do? Is it easy for you, or do you keep them to yourself? I’d really like to know.

 

You can learn more about Niki’s Kindness Challenge at The Richness of a Simple Life.

Photo credit: Colin Thomas

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Author: Sue Ranscht

I am a writer. Let me tell you a story...

37 thoughts on “Being Kind – Week 4”

  1. Dear Sue I read your post about kindness, what you did was awesome, I can imagine how happy the person was. Like you I also avoid writing if I do something nice for someone. I keep it within me.
    Thank you for liking my post, I appreciate it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sue – I am the one to keep it to myself. I get more of a blessing knowing I have done the act than telling everyone else the act I did. I believe that kindness comes from the heart and not from a selfishness of “look at what I did”. However, this is my opionin and not meant to implicate anyone else for their own actions. However, the kindness challenge for me has allowed me to see outside the box and get a different glimpse of others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree all the way around, Brenda. Just because I choose to be more private about these things doesn’t mean people who don’t feel that way are wrong. When the Kindness Challenge asks us to share how we are affected by participating, we have the chance to understand each other better, and in my experience, understanding leads even more easily to treating others kindly. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m glad you’re here.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sue, it was kind of you to come visit me today and leave some likes and a follow. I’m glad that led to this return. Clicking follow so I’ll see you around. This kindness episode you relate here is interesting and genuine, and really does point out a way to life a mood for the day. I’m generally not too bad to real people but if I ask a question and find a recording, it’s hang up time for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What I loved the most about this post was how the most meaningful act of kindness that you chose to comment on was something so simple and really so effortless. It is such a wonderful and necessary message that even the littlest words and gestures can make a big difference! I don’t go about reporting all of my acts of kindness. I try to live in such a way that I am always *seeing* other people, making eye contact, trying to make a connection and participate in our shared humanity, even if for a moment. The bus driver, the baggage handler at the airport, the barista, the random person I pass in the doorway at work. I think that putting as much love into every action as I can is the best way to spread kindness, but every once in awhile, something extra special will happen (either something kind that I did or that someone else did for me), and I just can’t contain it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think of it as a legacy. What we do, how we treat other people affects the way they treat other people. Ripples on the pond. Sounds like the ripples you make help to spread beauty through the world, one smile at a time, magnified by each person you smile at. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dropped by from the ping back on Niki’s kindness challenge…wonderful post and the final thoughts on the feelings associated by doing something that’s really tangible on someone’s else’s response is what it’s all about…very inspiring way to relate this. Thank you for sharing and now, in accordance with my own kindness guidelines I’m going to follow your blog….sorry 😊

    Like

  6. Ooooh Sue. I had mixed emotions when I read the first couple sentences of your post. I understand where you’re coming from completely. In fact, you’ll love the final week of the challenge because actually that’s what it’s all about! Doing something kind and not telling ANYONE! I agree that doing something nice should be for the simple fact of doing it from the bottom of your heart. Whether you seek attention or not, telling about it can take some of the purity out of the act. I do agree with Michelle though because on the other hand when I wrote the challenge, I wanted people to engage and share. This focus might come more naturally to some than others. Some might find encouragement or enlightenment by reading the reflection of a fellow participant. So while I didn’t want someone to make a list of 100 kind things they did to brag about it and have everyone telling them how wonderful and selfless they are, I did think it would boost moral or open someone’s eyes for them to realize they might be more kind than they previously considered themselves. Thank you for sharing your exception to the rule, Even though you didn’t share to receive praise about it, that was a nice and considerate thing to do. How many times does she get hung up on a day? How many rude people might she speak to? Even though it’s not meant to be towards her personally it is being done to her as a person so it must wear on her. I can’t help but think she was smiling on the other end of the phone and that likely was a highlight of her day. Thank you so much for participating in the challenge Sue 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! I’m sorry if I gave you a little scare. I suppose my resistance comes from my upbringing. Rest assured that if I hadn’t had that story to share, I wouldn’t have come on so strong. I’m not sure exactly what I WOULD have written, but it would have been a positive take on the subject. 🙂 I cherish the freedom we each have to feel the way we do, and I’ve worked diligently throughout my life to respect opinions that differ from mine because I know what it’s like to be made to feel that there is one correct opinion and it was never mine. People who find it’s easy to talk about the kindnesses they’ve shown — especially when they aren’t trying to impress other people — have an advantage over me for a challenge like this when it comes to reflecting on their week. And I have enjoyed reading several of them. It reinforces my belief that, as Samwise Gamgee says, “There’s still good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Awwww Sue, I know exactly where you’re coming from about the opinion being right… One thing that was at the forefront of my mind was that this journey was going to look different for everyone, and that’s ok! We all have the same focus, how we apply it will be different for each of us but that doesn’t take the validity or truth away from the journey. Thank you so much for sharing your story, you shared exactly what was on your heart for this focus! I love and honor the humility you displayed. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree with your first commenter Sue, it’s not so much bragging as reflecting. And not something I would do outside of the challenge, kindness generally does stay in our heart. And you were definitely kinder to the woman on the phone than I would have been. Hope you’re having a lovely weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Miriam. I guess I’ll have to shift my point of view and look at it that way. And that young woman had such a sweet, sincere voice, I’m sure you would have spoken to her just as kindly as if you were her mother. Of course, the other option was to just let her talk to the machine! My weekend so far has been productive but relaxing. I hope yours is just what you want it to be..

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Try not to think of it has bragging. Think of it more as a reflection. This challenge is helping me see where I can slow down and not sweat the things that do not matter. On another note, you were much kinder to the woman on the phone than I would have been! Maybe I will think twice before I react unkindly to unwanted callers. See? It’s a teaching challenge too!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make someone’s day better. My husband took the kids and myself out for dinner yesterday. The place we went to was crazy busy. They are always busy. We expected to wait, the last couple of times we were lucky enough to get a table more or less right away and the hostess is the same most of the time. Yesterday she told us that it will not go as fast this time and apologized. She found us a little table outside to sit and drink something while we wait (expected 30min wait). While I was sitting there a woman came over from the bar that belongs to the place too. She approached the hostess who was so busy but always friendly and really tried hard to make everyone heard. She started going on about the fact that her group was waiting for an eternity already and that she had already called in the night before to make sure they would not have to wait (I was wondering for what as the place doesn’t take bookings). She kept going on and on about while others were waiting and the poor hostess couldn’t help them out. Eventually she left, went back to her group and continued drinking, gesturing wildly, probably going on about the “bad service” of the place.
    I could help myself. I got up and walked over to the hostess who managed to catch up with the backlog the other woman had created. I simply smiled at her and told her that she’s doing an amazing job. There was so much gratitude in her smile. She looked at me thanked me. I smiled back and said “just take a deep breath”.

    I had no agenda when I did this. I just felt she needed to know that people see how hard she tries to make everyone happy. We had a table five minutes later and I can’t shake the idea that that table was probably meant for the other woman and her group. Anyway. I took it. The hostess smiled at me and complimented me on our kids. Needless to say, that it brought a smile to my face as well…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve never understood how people can justify treating service workers rudely. Especially in public where everyone can see what they’re doing. Maybe it’s the Squeaky Wheel Theory of Behavior or an over-inflated sense of entitlement, but even if it doesn’t embarrass the Squeaky Wheel, it’s embarrassing to watch, and hurtful to the human being it’s aimed at. I think you handled that situation exceedingly well — your encouraging word and smile probably carried her for days. “…that table was probably meant for the other woman and her group. Anyway. I took it.” I laughed and laughed. It might very well have been meant for the other woman, but YOU earned it. Besides, if she claimed she called the night before, but they don’t take reservations, and her group had already waited an eternity, it’s quite likely she was at the wrong restaurant. She probably was looking for Douglas Adams’s Restaurant at the End of the Universe. 😉

      Thanks for sharing this great story. I’m glad you found it easy to talk about. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I don’t go on about ALL that I do, but if someone asks or it is to make a point, I may mention the kind things that I do. I cannot mention them all, for… it’s just my way to be mostly kind. I loved this post, Sue… Really gave me a smile. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tre. You just gave me a smile, too. I understand your position on sharing kind things you’ve done, and I know you’re kind because it’s in your eyes. (I like your new profile pic, btw.) I imagine you listing a few kind acts like a matter of fact report, not asking for praise, just asking to be heard, and I think I’d really enjoy hearing you make a point some time. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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