Kindness. It’s a concept we all know. From a young age we learned about the foundation of kindness through classes, books, and two-week groundings. However, as we grow older the concept of being kind sometimes escapes our everyday routine. We don’t look at kindness as a necessity, but as a task. Now, more than ever, we need to take the time in our lives to stop, take a deep breath, and remember that kindness is a domino effect.
Ever been in a drive-thru line at Starbucks and you get involved in a “I’ll buy his behind me, because she bought mine” situation? Everyone is automatically put in the giving mood because a random stranger was kind enough to pay their bill even though they had no attachment to this person (besides being neighbors in line). Customer after customer, people are paying for other’s drinks simply because someone they want to pay-it-forward. The cycle usually continues for twenty or more customers, until someone stops paying-it-forward. Not to say that person isn’t kind or thoughtful (there could be outside circumstances), but the chain reaction of the Starbucks giving line dies. The domino effect doesn’t start again until someone takes the initiative to begin another giving line.
We need more influencers like this in our community. Influencers meaning people who aren’t waiting to show random act of kindness, but people who just do it. Think about how you feel after a person compliments your smile, holds the door open for you, or sparks up a random conversation about your day just to talk. When something like this happens to us, we walk away with a smile on our face ready to pay-it-forward to someone else. So that sparks the question, why can’t we be the influencer to make a person smile?
The domino effects don’t have to be centered around starting a Starbucks giving line, but acts that can get someone to smile and remember being kind makes the community a better place.
- Compliment a person’s physical or personality traits (eyes, hair, their work ethic or humor).
- Help someone carry groceries out to their car.
- Spark up a conversation with your gas station attendant, Trader Joe’s cashier, or a distant neighbor.
- Donate clothes or canned goods to a homeless shelter or give it to someone you know is in need.
- Remember to say kind words: thank you, you’re welcome, please, and excuse me.
My quest for all of you reading this is to genuinely be kind. Each day for the next seven days say or do something for friends, family, co-workers, or complete strangers. Document how it made you feel to put kindness out into your community and how those who received your kindness acted. Did they smile? Did their eyes seem sincere with appreciation? Shaping an entire community’s outlook on this concept doesn’t happen over night, but it can happen. You need to be the beginning of the domino effect because that’s how the Starbucks giving line starts: with an influencer.