content='index,follow' name='robots'/> Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom: Spreading Kindness

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Spreading Kindness

We got 4 inches of snow overnight and when my husband came out of work to get in his truck to come home, someone had shoveled a path beside his truck making it easier to get to. This certainly was an act of kindness that didn’t go unnoticed. Others in our community at times have left extra money for coffee for the next person or plowed neighbor’s driveways - all spreading kindness around.

Suzie, blogger of The Abundance Highway, wrote a post a couple of days ago on random acts of kindness when she talked about picking up litter from the beach. We could take that to our own home towns and pick up litter on playgrounds or parks. It made me think of other acts of kindness my community has received and experienced in the past year and a half.

On Sept 27, 2006, our Rocky Mountain community changed when a gunman entered our high school holding 7 girls hostage and killing Emily Keyes making national headlines. Her last words text messaged to her Dad were, “I Love U Guys”. As a result of this horrendous incident, the community rallied around the family and law enforcement and came together for healing with support showing random acts of kindness in honor of Emily. Instead of bitterness and hate came love and it was not only demonstrated by businesses, neighbors, and teachers but more importantly by the students.

We saw people planting flowers for others and students cleaning up yards, $20 was left at a cafĂ© to buy sodas for the next 20 customers, people showing up volunteering and helping with food for law enforcement officers during their investigation. Healing comes from reaching out to others in love and kindness. There is kindness within us and is being offered everyday around the world. We don’t need a tragedy to remind us how important life is to be valued and what part we can play to make it a better world. It starts in our homes and communities and can spread.

I’m reminded of the powerful and moving 2000 movie Pay It Forward where a junior high school boy takes a challenge seriously of an assignment from his social studies teacher in making a difference in the world. He decides to help 3 people without anything in return except for them to pay the kindness forward to 3 other people. His thinking was that if we all took our part this would spread exponentially around the world.

In an interview with the author of Pay It Forward, Catherine Ryan Hyde, she describes where this idea for the book came. Her car broke down one night and caught on fire and 2 men came to her rescue helping her and putting out the fire. She wanted to repay them but she was told, “Don’t pay it back to me.” “Pay it forward to someone else”. She goes onto say in the interview, “Then I spent the next 20 years wondering what kind of world it would be like if an idea like that caught fire.”

Imagine what kind of world it would be like if we each, like Suzie at Abundance Highway, our mountain community, or Trevor the junior high student, found a way to spread kindness. Maybe, we could leave extra change for the next person coming through a toll line or scrape off the windows of the car next to yours when you scrape off your windows. Help an elderly person living in the neighborhood by offering to get their groceries once a week to name a few.

It’s not just when the need arises that kindness is important it’s when it comes unexpectedly and unprompted. It touches your heart and makes you feel that maybe the world isn’t so bad after all. Most times, little does the person know that what they did may have not only saved your day but saved your life?

“Changing the world. One kindness at a time.”

From the kitchen table - Pat
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Patricia Singleton said...

Pat, I agree with Andrea's comment tonight at her class, your blog is growing in a wonderful way along with your spiritual journey. Thanks for sharing it with us. Sitting at your kitchen table and listening to your bits of wisdom is a wonderful way to spend an evening or morning.

Pat said...

Patricia - thank you so much for such an endearing comment and thank you to Andrea.

I can picture you sitting here with me at my kitchen table sharing life's treasures. I love it...can't you picture it. Whew!!

Anonymous said...

Hello Pat,

I found this post of yours and felt it was the most appropriate one to leave my comment.

I'm a female blogger, with a profile that reads much like yours. Soon I will celebrate my one year anniversary of blogging, and in the past two months I have made it my mission to "pay it forward" by finding new bloggers (less than 4 months old) to showcase in my "New Blog Of The Week"(NBOTW) category.

I happened on your blog in the comment section of Clay Collins "The Growing Life" blog. In fact, he is the current NBOTW".

To get to the point, I am naming you my NBOTW and on Tuesday (3/18) will write a post to introduce you to my community of fellow bloggers. We're not a large group, but we all care about each other.

There are no strings attached to this "honor" (?), and what you do with it is solely up to you.

If you have a chance, come on over and say Hi and check out some of the blogs of my loyal commenters.

BTW: It's great to see other non traditional age female bloggers making their mark on blogosphere. Our years can teach the younguns much.

Pat said...

Barbara - thank you for your thoughtful and considerate response. I'm happy you came across my blog and hope you got a lift for the day. I'm honored to be The New Blog of the Week on your blog and consider it a privilege to be in company with Clay Collins.

Please send me a comment with the name and hyperlink of your site so I can publish it to this post and also add it to my links and support you in return.

Thank you so much and please let me know how I can help you. I'd like to get to know your community.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat,

The link to my blog is:

Come on by and meet some of my loyal readers/commenters. Some have already checked out your blog and are enjoying your writings.

See you soon

Barbara Swafford

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat,

I'm afraid my previous comment may have ended up in your spam folder as I included a link,so I will try this a little different.

The name of my blog is "". You might have to type in the URL.

Come on by and meet all of my loyal readers/commenters and join in the conversations. We look forward to seeing you there.


Pat said...

Barbara - thank you stopping back and for including me in your New Blog of the Week edition at your site Blogging Without a Blog. I'm honored and humbled.

I really appreciate those from your community that have stopped by and those that have commented on your site.

I will put a link to your blog on my site. You certainly have paid it forward for me. I thank you and appreciate your support. I look forward to getting to know you and your community more in the days and weeks ahead.

Pat said...

Barbara - I finally got the comment you sent earlier. Thank you for spotlighting my blog this week in your New Blog of the Week Edition. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your support and for your community stopping by for a visit.

I have visited your site
Blogging Without A Blog and love it (woohoo I'm getting the hang of how to put in that link).

Your lead-in story about the elderly is one that is endearing to me. The most special person in my life was my grandmother. I loved her dearly and remember those times together with her.

Come and join us around the kitchen table - pull up a chair and I'll pour you a cup of coffee. Whew! Where do we begin?

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat,

It was great to see you over at BWAB. I think you'll love the community of cyberspace friends that frequent my site. They are what keeps me inspired and motivated to keep going.

I love you site and the topics you write about. I have you in my reader now so I can catch up on all of your older posts and chart your progress.

Thank you for the link. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

See you again soon.

BTW: I take my coffee black.

Pat said...

Barbara - thank you for coming back. I enjoyed your site and what you're doing with it. I catch your vision and inspiration and know how you feel about what you're wanting to create for your readers. It's there in your blog and in what you write. You see it and feel it also in how your readers comment. They feel it too.

Thank you for signing up for the feeds of my posts - I signed up for yours too. We can keep each other up to date on how we're doing and encourage one another.

I love this connection. Can you imagine how big that kitchen table is going to have to be? I'll just have to have kitchen tables all over the world so everyone has an opportunity to join in (no cream and sugar, huh?).

It's late so I'll wish you a restful and peaceful sleep.

Goodnight and Blessings

Anonymous said...

This is really inspiring post Pat, really inspiring. I mainly like the “Don’t pay it back to me.” “Pay it forward to someone else” said to Catherine Ryan Hyde. What a great idea.
I also like to help people when they are in trouble and at least I myself think they are but frankly speaking, I haven't thought in this way and haven't heard someone had said like this.
If we can pass such message and act of kindness from one person to another taking seriously by all, we can change this world in short period of time. Because this will increase in geometrical order.
Thanks for this post.

Pat said...

Jirel - thank you for your kind words and comment.

The message in your post called Make Someone's Day made me think of how I've seen others show random acts of kindness in our community and the Pay It Forward concept (see a previous post I've written called Spreading Kindness.

Truly, one person can make a difference in the world, exponentially.

I'm happy you were inspired and I hope by reading this post it made your day.