It seems to be “the worst year ever” according to a multitude of social media memes. And, quite frankly, I must agree that it wasn’t a great one. In my family, 2016 brought with it identity theft, a miscarriage, and the loss of my widely beloved father-in-law, Curt.
I know we all face hardship, but we got an overload this year.
Then there was the election. Political beliefs and who won/loss aside, the campaigning process seemed to rip our country in half in a way we haven’t seen in decades. Heightened by social media, families and friendships were turned upside down due to differences in opinions. It really broke my heart. I even unfollowed my dad on Facebook. (We’re cool now).
I would be remiss if I did not mention the horror of terrorism and violence that hit the headlines in 2016. Senseless gun violence continued to shake the U.S. A scary divide between law enforcement and civilians brought grief to many. And, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so helpless in my life than when I’ve read about or watched the terror that has rained down on the poor people of Syria. This paragraph could be A LOT longer, but I’m kind of being a Debbie Downer. Sorry about that.
We may not be able to change the past, but we can choose kindness going forward.
There’s a shortage of kindness in the world right now, and – it’s one of the easiest things you can provide.
It’s free to be kind.
It doesn’t take a lot of time to be kind.
And, kindness is subjective – there’s no wrong or right way to do it.
In late November, I finished writing our typical “here’s what we were up to this year” Christmas letter when I ran it by my husband for editing. It had been a month since his dad passed away. After he read it, he knew he wanted to somehow honor his late father in our letter. So, we scrapped the original laundry list about vacations and ballet classes and home projects to help spread this very message of kindness.
Here’s an excerpt from our modified letter:
“…What we really want to do this Christmas is to encourage you to be kind and loving and generous to all whom you encounter. We think it’s especially important in our country’s current atmosphere. We don’t have to agree with one another to show kindness to one another. Teach your children that we are all worthy of love. Be patient with those who tire you. And, just be nice. It’s what Curt would want.”
Maybe 2017 is the year to drop the working out or home organization resolutions. Maybe this is the year to resolve to be kind. I know you can do it! And, who knows… maybe others will be inspired to do the same.
In case you’re not sure where to start, here are some easy ideas that cost little or nothing to do:
- Smile at everyone
- Say please and thank you
- Let someone ahead of you in traffic
- Send a handwritten note
- Give a compliment
- Hold a door open
Certainly, there are thousands of ways to spread kindness. These are just the basics.