I have to be honest, I don’t get out much these days. This past month I’ve been at home with my 18 month old and loving every minute. The majority of my efforts have been focused at home which is a very important place to ensure that kindness overflows. I’ve noticed that I’ve made great strides in the kindness department at home. I try to be courteous and considerate of the wants, needs, and desires of those in my household. I try to be thoughtful, understanding, sympathetic and empathetic. I choose to be encouraging and supportive over critical or judgemental. I try to understand things from their point of view. I don’t always succeed and there are times that repeating myself to my 7 year old irritates me, her whining annoys me, or I’m just having an “off” day (or week in this case). I’m only human and I do my part to try to make sure there is harmony, love and peace in the house.
On the occasions I did get out of the house, I realized I didn’t have to make an extra effort to be kind. I normally smile and greet strangers, I engage in conversation with those that attend me in stores, I am friendly and polite to those I come across. There was an instance at the bank that showed me that kindness has become a major part of my lifestyle. I needed to pull some money but the only ATM in the town I live in was down for repairs and I had no choice but to wait in line. Though it wasn’t long, I knew it would take a while before my turn would come up. I thought I’d be cutting it close to pick my daughter up from school on time but with the ATM down I had no choice but to wait in line to pull money otherwise the bank would be closed by the time I got her. So I was patient in line, didn’t huff, puff or check the time. I smiled at those that came in after me even though I felt like pacing and tapping my foot to show my impatience. I didn’t let my 18 month old’s tired cry unnerve me, an older man even came up to us and helped me try to entertain her. She was amused by the novelty of this new face and settled watching him try to make her laugh. I didn’t let myself get frazzled by the situation even though the teller engaged in conversation laughing and taking time away from me getting to where I needed to be on time. I realized she was just doing her job and not letting the impatient line get to her.
I was a couple of minutes late to pick my daughter up from school but her class still hadn’t come out so it didn’t matter. That’s when I realized how beneficial my attitude was not only to be kind to the teller who had no control over the ATM situation, but for myself. Had I gotten all worked over the inconvenience of the ATM being down, it would have put me in a bad mood for a the next part of the day. My daughter wouldn’t know why I was in such a bad mood picking her up and it wouldn’t have made for a very pleasant way to greet her after her day. Instead I let my temporary frustration stay at the bank and enjoyed the brisk walk to the school. I smiled at people I passed by, had a lovely conversation with my daughter about her day and continued on about my day.
This doesn’t seem like much but the person I was a few years ago would not have handled that situation the same way. Irrational as it may seem, I would have been in a bad mood, probably wouldn’t have been mean to the teller but not consciously kind either. I would have been in a sour mood for a good portion of the day which would have spoiled the day for those around me. It’s funny how the little choices can have such a big impact on your day and of those around you. Even though I have a long way to go, participating in this challenge helps me see how far I’ve come and that’s such a great thing to realize!