I am posting this story for someone who would love to remain anonymous, but who would like to share their experience. She writes:
I have been thinking a lot about kindness recently ever since I wrote down my goals for a successful life. One of my goals is, “to do one thing that makes a difference”. My thoughts at the time were to do one big thing that would make a difference to the lives of many. Then I heard a quote from Martin Luther King who said, “If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way.”
Kindness is an inherited value which can be passed from generation to generation. Both my parents were kind and generous to everyone they met - generous with their time, they listened and they helped many different people on different occasions when they could. They didn’t wait to do one big amazing thing but they did small things in a great way.
Researcher Professor Bardi commented, "This research really shows that where parents nurture positive, supportive and altruistic values their children will also take these characteristics to heart…..This research brings a positive message to the world: prosocial parents breed a prosocial next generation.”
I would like to tell you the story of one example of a small thing that made my day. I took my two grandchildren grocery shopping recently and once the check out operator had finished checking my groceries I asked her for a Pak’n Save voucher. Having paid for my groceries and voucher I gave the voucher back to the checkout operator and asked her to give this to the next person that came through the checkout. This is something that has just become part of my grocery shop and the best thing about it is the delight that is gives the checkout operator as they pass on the good news to the next customer - someone has already paid for part of your groceries.
My grandsons watched on a little baffled. One asked if I was just giving that away and when I replied yes he said, “that is very kind Nanna”. The other who loves maths and numbers was very quick to say, “Nanna I want to go shopping after you next time.” Wise young man.
What I have found is that when you start to think about kindness you see it everywhere. It warms my heart to hear my children talk about the kind acts they have done - not in a boastful way but just as a matter of 'this is what happened in my day'. My eldest child has given freely of his time to those in need, given support to struggling beginning divers knowing that if they find their passion in diving it may change their world or other times when he has gone out of his way to share resources, time or knowledge. I smiled, probably inside and out, when he likened himself to my parents and the way they were kind to everyone.
If you want to make a difference in the world it might not be the big grand gestures but the small kindnesses carried out in a great way that someone is watching and learning from. Someone who will one day attribute their being kind to what was modelled by past generations.