I have been sharing with you an “ABC Adventure” of the Santa Clarita Valley, sharing about: Animals, Bicycle Trails, Central Park, Drums, Education, and Family Dinner in the Santa Clarita Valley.
This week, however, I am taking a quick break from the series to share a few thoughts about love and kindness. It only seemed appropriate on this Valentine weekend.
At the grocery store on Wednesday, I noticed several shoppers buying bouquets, cards, chocolates and such for their loved ones. I was buying key ingredients for the Valentine dinner I would be preparing – lamb sausages in honor of the favorite dish in Egypt that my husband and I often ate when we were both studying abroad there and met for the first time 13 years ago. Mostly, people seemed happy as they focused their efforts on showing their loved ones how much they mean to them.
I am sure, though, there several of us that also felt a little stress this past Thursday, I know I certainly did – not from the pressure of the dinner I wanted to make for my husband, but rather the cookies I needed to make for my son to take to his play group, and now I think how silly that I would let something like getting cookies made first thing in the morning for a 10 a.m. play group cause me stress resulting in not demonstrating or acting with love toward my family. How silly, indeed.
And how silly it is every day when we let stress infringe on our ability to treat others with love and kindness. Even strangers deserve to be treated with kindness, and I have a theory that if we all treated everyone we met with a little more kindness, we would probably feel less stressed in general, and the result would be more happiness and love in the world. A pretty good result, I think.
I have seen it work, too. At the holidays, I created a Random Acts of Kindness Adventure for my 3-year-old and watched him bring smiles to many faces – at the mini mart as he delivered a thank-you note to the cashier, at the coffee shop as he handed out candy canes to strangers and wished them Happy Holidays.
It doesn’t even need to be that particular – a smile, a few nice words, remembering our “pleases” and “thank you’s” as we go about our day, and not being so much in a rush that we cannot respond nicely and appropriately when someone engages us in conversation. These things matter.
A fellow blogger I know does an annual 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge each year, beginning on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and running through Valentine’s Day. My hunch is that focusing on 100 acts of kindness in one month at the beginning of the year starts the year off right, sets the tone and can turn acts of kindness into habits. If there is any new habit that would be a good one for us all to pick up, showing excessive kindness is a pretty good one.
So today, this weekend and every day, I challenge myself – and you – to commit at least three or even five acts of kindness. Who knows? You might decide to bump it up to 10 soon, and before you know it, you might find yourself seeing acts of kindness everywhere.
I know when I first began the 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge of Toddler Approved, the result I least expected was the way it shifted my world view. I started noticing small acts of kindness all around me.
At a time when recent events like the massacre at Sandy Hook can provide a grim outlook, opening my eyes and seeing the kindness of others and focusing my own efforts on fostering more love and kindness in the world feels pretty good.
Please stop in at The Good Long Road Facebook page and tell me what Acts of Kindness you have witnessed or committed lately. I would love to know.
Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.