I truly believe that “nice” is underrated. I also believe we could use a little more civility, care, and concern, so I’m offering “The Kindness Challenge” hoping that we can, individually and collectively, create a kinder, gentler world” by seeing day-to-day life differently.
We’ll look at the first 25 today and finish with the next 25 tomorrow.
1. when you think something nice, say it (even if it’s outside your comfort zone)
2. if you have to/want to turn down an invitation don’t make up a story (“I’m sorry I can’t make it” is perfectly acceptable)
3. don’t make fun of people—ever (we all deserve to be treated with respect)
4. if you’re visiting someone who has a caregiver, show appreciation for the people who are lifting, cleaning, feeding and saving lives all day
5. use the name of the person that you’re speaking to (it makes people feel good to be addressed by their name)
6. respect the folks who drive tractor-trailers (many people complain about “those awful, big trucks”, but they have no problem buying the goods that end up in stores; how do they think all that stuff got there?)
7. appreciate what you have and who you are; thank God for anyone who adds joy to your life
8. never say things like, “obviously you’re not the birth parent, where did you adopt your child from?” (love, not biology, determines parenthood)
9. if you see someone who’s wearing a uniform indicating that he or she is serving (or served) our country, thank him/her for the sacrifices made so that we can walk around freely
10. give a wave to the person who lets you in, when you’re stuck in traffic
11. if you’re tall enough, help a person get something off a high shelf in a grocery store
12. don’t ask people you know personal questions that could be sensitive like “when are you getting married?” (if they wanted you to know that they’d share it)
13. when you’re in a group of people, don’t monopolize the conversation (of course you’re interesting and witty but someone else may be too)
14. let someone go in front of you in a grocery store line if they only have a few items and you have a full cart
15. turn off the television when you have company unless watching something together is the reason they’re with you
16. if you’re going to be at someone’s home for anything but a potluck (where everyone brings food/drink to share) bring a small, thoughtful gift that says, “thank you for inviting me”
17. hold the door for the person behind you, regardless of their age, gender, or ability
18. if you splash water all over the sink in a public restroom, get a paper towel and dry it off
19. love the one you’re with (if that’s not possible, rethink that part of your life)
20. apologize when you say something you didn’t mean, something you meant but then realized was hurtful or when you do something that you regret (I’m sorry” gets easier when you say it more often)
21. if you break something in anoter person’s home, replace it
22. RSVP (répondez s’il vous plaît) means “please respond”; do it by the deadline (I’m always surprised when people don’t have the courtesy to simply say “yes” or “no”)
22. send a hand-written thank you note to show appreciation
23. when there’s a death in the family of someone you know, reach out and ask what they need (another casserole might be more appreciated a few weeks later when everyone else has gone back to their “normal” but the family is still grieving)
24. if you have children who play sports, thank the coaches who so generously volunteer their time
25. say “thank you” to the people who serve you coffee, hold the door for you, work for you, deliver your mail (you get the point)
A lot of these are what I’d consider “common sense”, but they’re often missed.
It may be tough to change some behaviors overnight but “the little things”, taken in manageable steps, do make a difference. If we channel the golden rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, we just might create a kinder, gentler world.
I’ll be back tomorrow with the next 25!
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