You have to see it to believe it
According to a research led by Environics Research for Coca-Cola Canada (which, by the way, also made this absolutely wonderful ad) Canadians have been kind to each other about four times each month by demonstrating random acts of kindness such as opening doors, offering to carry heavy objects or giving up their seat in public transportation.
Furthermore, about a third of all Canadians are inspired by random acts of kindness when they see one and tend to want to give back. When we know that children see, children do, we understand how important it is to show them how to notice the pleasure of giving and treasure the happiness we feel when we made someone else’s day brighter. Being kind is not being weak. Being kind is being human.
Listen when a friend needs to talk
Sometimes our friends are truly having a hard time. Of course, it is heavy to listen to. Of course, we could be anywhere else, having more fun. Of course, we know what our friend means because something similar happened to us and we would love to talk about it too. But sometimes, we must learn to be quiet, listen and try to understand the whole situation of that person who clearly needs to talk. Empathy is also a great lesson to teach children.
Help others when they clearly need it
Once, in the subway, I saw a man who must have been 75 years old. He was very slowly going down the stairs so I helped him carry his (very heavy) stroller next to the train. He thanked me and went away and while I was wondering what he could have possibly been carrying that was so heavy, people started to come to me and tell me how wonderful I was. These people who were so impressed did not help him in the first place, but I strongly believe that they would now. And I hope that when my children are my age, they will help others every day too.
Sometimes, people will not smile back, sometimes they will and sometimes you will not see them smile. They could smile further down the street because your smile would have put some happiness in an otherwise awful day. Smiling is truly underestimated… maybe that’s because it’s free? But that’s no reason no to give smiles away every time we can.
This is another way of being kind and respectful. Driving slowly in a school zone and acting first when we see someone confused (instead of honking and screaming) makes the roads a better place. Being courteous also makes walking safer and, in a word, makes everyone a bit more Zen. Also, if we want our children to drive safely, we must show them how.
Take the microphone
When someone is being bullied or victim of injustice, whether at work, at home or in the street, speaking out to defend him or encourage him will break the impression of being terribly lonely. You could restore his faith in humanity, right there, right then.
I once saw a woman running behind a young girl who was listening to an angry boyfriend screaming at her. The woman simply told her “You don’t have to deal with this” and walked away. The look on the girl’s face changed right away, as if that woman had given her a bit of hope. This kind of action can stop violence and give a bit of courage to those who had lost it.
Give your parking receipt
Instead of letting the next person pay twice, an increasing amount of people gives their receipt to the person who takes their parking spot. It’s nice, it doesn’t cost anything and it shows that with just a little effort, we can really make a stranger happy. You can even download an app called iPap to let everyone know what parking spots have been paid.
Offer a drink
When the winter wind is blowing or the hot summer sun is shining, we sometimes see our nice crossing guard freezing or thirsty. If you are about to buy a coffee or a cold drink, why not buy an extra drink for her? It is very little money for someone who spends her days outside to help us out. The same goes for any other outdoor workers and for the homeless too.
Visit your family
Visiting an old family member that we haven’t seen in a while or visiting our grandparents in a home or at the hospital to brighten their lonely days is another great way to make others happy. It is kind for the visited person and it shows children that families stick together.
Breathe deeply before you talk
Patience is a virtue. With social medias, we are getting used to “talk” fast, to speak our mind and to give our opinion all the time, even when no one asks for it. However, although everyone is entitled to have an opinion, it is not always necessary to talk. It is the same at home. When our children are excited and scream after a long day at work, we can be tempted to quickly accuse them of all sorts of things. Breathing deeply before talking isn’t always easy but after a while, it makes everyone happier.
Taking time to answer correctly when someone talks to us, answering when children ask questions and doing everything we have to do as well as we can is another way of being kind.
Random acts of kindness
Help someone who dropped something, write to you best friend and tell her you miss her, call your auntie who was always there for you and tell her that you love her, help an old lady cross the road, help a friend build something… There are so many ways to be kind with others! Was if it was contagious? What if it was some kind of butterfly effect? What if we started looking at everyone around us as if we were part of the same team?
“The sexiest thing in the world is being smart, being thoughtful and being generous.” – Ashton Kutsher, Teen Choice Awards 2013