For kids, parents, teachers and helpful grandparents, the beginning of the school year is a fresh start, but with new beginnings also come new, hectic schedules.
It’s at times like this that I take a deep breath and remind myself of Rick Warren’s warning in the Purpose Driven Life; “Don’t confuse activity with productivity.” I know that some of the most productive moments in my day aren’t when I’m getting laundry done or checking things off my to-do list, but when I’m sitting in the idling car waiting to drop my 10-year-old, Josi, off at school. It’s in this quiet time between frantic activities that I get to hear about what’s really going on in her head and her heart – what her teacher said, what her friends did at lunch and the drama of the fifth grade. Josi is headstrong and outspoken – a strength and a challenge – and as we sit in the car waiting for the day to start I try to help her think through how she can respond to everyday upsets in a kinder, more loving way.
Since our schedule is being rebuilt from the ground up anyway after a long summer, I have decided to be intentional about building in some more of this sort of quiet, productive time into our getting ready and winding down routines.
So Josi and I have started a kindness journal -writing down one kind action that we did for another and one kind gesture we received from someone else each day. As I listen to Josi share about the kindness she has done or the kindness she received, it makes me smile. Does that person know that their little tiny action was memorable enough that it made her smile at the end of the day? (By the way- the kindness she remembers is that a sixth grader held the door for her) The simplicity of what kindness means to her is a good reminder of how simple it really is.
And it makes me wonder, even as I explain the idea of acting in kindness to a little girl who’s quick to feel and respond without thinking it all through, how often does kindness win out over frustration in my own life?
Did I talk when I should have been listening?
Did I let someone cut in front of me at the grocery store because they had fewer items or looked in a hurry?
Did I see that someone was new to town or just visiting and looking lost and offer to point them in the right direction?
The list goes on…
So the challenge begins! Every day we will log just one kind action we have done and one that we have received from someone else. My hope and prayer is that this will inspire us and remind us of how BIG of an impact a SMALL ‘Act in Kindness’ can make.
Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.
~ Mother Teresa