Most people are nice – so many jump to it when they see me struggling to balance three littles while grocery shopping. Yet, today I met a grump in the middle of Kroger. So many other kind strangers had helped me so much that day, I couldn’t even be mad at this grump.
I was trying to decide how I would notify an employee about the jar of spaghetti sauce that I’d broken and splattered all over the aisle, when out of nowhere, I heard a very grouchy voice say, “Can you move your cart out of the way so other people can get through?” I was startled by this. It seemed so unusual to have someone treat me this way when, in this same situation, I would often turn to see a stranger standing quietly behind me waiting for me to move. Or, even better, the stranger often offers to help!
But, luckily, instead of my stress hormones and momma bear instincts getting the best of me, I simply moved my cart out of the way for the grump to get through. I even happily offered him a, “Have a nice day!” My grump just offered a mumbled, “You too.” Maybe he had a tough day… or a string of bad days. Maybe he’s suffering from chronic pain. All I know is, I wouldn’t have found the strength of character to be kind to this man if I hadn’t had so much support from others in my life.
Wow, I’ve got it made! I usually don’t stop to think about how nice people are as a whole. Most of the time, strangers are making extra room for me and my crew down the aisles, offering to help push my cart, reaching the box of cookies that’s too high for me, making small talk with my babies and giving them compliments. What would this world be without random acts of kindness? I now know for sure that all those random acts of kindness squashes grumps!
This connects nicely to an activity I tried out with my girlies this week. We created a “chain of kindness.” I found it here. I only tried part of this activity with my girls, but they loved it! We made the chain and discussed the term “kindness.” Now, it’s become a topic of discussion around the dinner table as well. This activity is a great way to start talking about kindness, defining it, and finding ways to apply it! The chain aspect lends itself to discussions of how we feel when someone does something kind for us, and how we all feel better when we keep the kindness going.