I feel like tension between people lately has been running on the high side. It seems to be everywhere. A large part of that is due to the political climate. People are polarized about our new president. I've seen the hate-filled comments come from both sides. It gets ugly. It's not pretty.
Living in the upper Midwest in January doesn't necessary help the situation. Fewer days of sun makes some of people's happiness slip away for a short time. Plus, we've been dealing with ice, and now a snowstorm at least in the southeast corner of Minnesota. I know that's what we deal with here, but when the weather starts to interfere with driving, jobs and even makes walking outside treacherous (in the case of the ice) it can be wearing.
Let's just say people everywhere could use a little more sunshine and happiness in their lives right now.
Good Morning America recently featured a segment about The Great Kindness Challenge. Over 10 million kids in 12,000 schools have signed up for the challenge, which encourages the kids to take on as many simple acts of kindness as they can. They even have a list on their website for the students to follow if they need a few ideas.
There are other organizations and days dedicated to reminding people to be kind. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation celebrates Random Acts of Kindness week Feb. 12-18, April 30 is Pay It Forward day and Nov. 13 is World Kindness Day.
But kindness should go beyond these dedicated days. Can you imagine our world if everyone focused on being a little kinder to each other every day? Anyone can be kind and the act doesn't have to be a grand display. It can be as easy as saying hello, giving a smile, complimenting a person or saying thank you.
A few of the examples on the acts of kindness list for kids taking The Kindness Challenge include: draw a picture and give it to someone, say thank you to the crossing guard, invite a new friend to play, lend a pencil to a friend, whisper thank you to the librarian and sit with a new group of kids at lunch. Although these are geared towards kids, they can easily be turned into things adults can do, too.
I'm going to take on the kindness challenge myself to be more conscious about my actions and add a little more kindness to each of my days. I want to make sure to smile and laugh a little more, while complaining and judging less. Sure, that may seem simple or small, but wouldn't you prefer to meet someone with a smile on their face rather than a frown?
I'll try to be more understanding when my patience wears thin and I want to help out my neighbors a little more. They are constantly kind to us by blowing snow off our sidewalk if we haven't gotten to it yet. I also want to write a few, out-of-the-blue thank you letters and actually hand-write a few letters to friends I haven't talked to in awhile. Texts or emails are fine, but handwriting a letter just seems more personal to me. Plus, I love getting snail mail, especially when it's unexpected. Social media is an area where all of us could give out kindness a little more freely. Words typed can be just as mean as ones spoken.
So, will you join me? Let's all be a little kinder to one another. What will your random acts of kindness be?