Category: Kindness Matters Monday

Kindness Matters Monday: Packed With Love

So I realize that many of my posts lately have been about Operation Christmas Child. This week is packing week, so I promise that they’ll slow down soon. But I had to share this story with you today, in honor of Kindness Matters Monday.

I teach preschool music, and I often spend the first minute or two of class asking kids a question about their weekend, what fun things they’re doing, etc. Today, I told one of my classes that I’d be having a shoebox packing party this weekend. None of them had ever heard of Operation Christmas Child (well, except for my son), and they listened attentively.

” … And then I pack them with things like a toothbrush and toothpaste, school supplies, and toys. Oh, and candy!”

And then came a little voice. “And love?”

I froze. I choked up. And I smiled.

“Yes, sweetie. And so, so much love.”

Your one box? It matters.

(I’ve watched a lot of these videos, y’all. But 20 seconds in, and my heart … oh.)

Kindness Matters Monday: Hot Wheels

And today’s Kindness Matters Monday story is brought to you by … Facebook?

This morning, Facebook “reminded” me of this story that I shared three years ago today. And since it is a perfect fit with this week’s kindness challenge, I wanted to share it. Keep packing those shoeboxes!

Kindness Matters Monday

Who’d like to read a heart-warming story?

(Hands begin waving in the air. “Me! Me!”)

Okay then …

Today I took advantage of my both-kids-in-preschool day to do a little bit more store-hopping. I went several places, poking through clearance racks and looking for good deals on fun stuff for Operation Christmas Child (especially for little boys – I mostly have girly things). At Kroger, I found a fun little toy truck on the clearance rack, and I noticed there were little “collectors packs” with a small Hot Wheels car and some stickers for 80 cents each. I grabbed a few and went to check out. The cashier said, “Some little boy is going to be very happy!” I laughed and told her, “I hope so!” I explained a little bit about Operation Christmas Child. We chatted, I paid, and then as I started to walk away, I looked at my receipt and realized that the Hot Wheels were only 40 cents. I turned around, grabbed a few more, and hopped back in line. The cashier smiled at me and I explained that I couldn’t resist such a great deal. The elderly gentleman who was checking out ahead of me asked how much the toys cost. I told him, and then he opened his mouth and made my day.

“If I give you two dollars, will you go buy some more and add them to your shoeboxes?”

I hadn’t even realized he was listening to me talk to the cashier a moment before, but he was, and he decided he wanted to help. He opened up his wallet, pulled out three one-dollar bills, handed them to me, and said, “There you go. Go get some more.”

Choked up, I thanked him, ran back, and grabbed another handful of toys.

I don’t know anything about that man. I don’t know if he has millions of dollars sitting in the bank, or if those three dollars were a real sacrifice for him. But somewhere in the world, probably in the midst of poverty we can’t really imagine, on Christmas morning, a little boy will open his box and find several toy cars to play with. I hope that sweet old man remembers that on Christmas. I hope he is blessed for his kind, giving heart.

A surprise Disney trip …

Ready for a feel-good story? Here’s your Kindness Matters Monday tearkjerker.

Enjoy!

 

Kindness Matters Monday

Kindness Matters on an Airplane

I love this story from The Kindness Blog!

Although world is full of kind and wonderful people, it is rare for stories like these to end up in our newsfeeds. They’re not flashy. They’re … well, nothing that spectacular, honestly.

Just everyday people being kind.

But what a difference an everyday person can make.

Kindness Matters Monday

Click here for a simple, sweet story of a woman whose kindness on an airplane made a big difference to a young mom.

Making a Difference with a Vacuum Cleaner

I have an awesome friend named Amy. She and I grew up in the same area. She’s a wife. She’s a mom to three beautiful children. She is kind, she is strong, she is faithful, she is a warrior.

And right now, she is fighting breast cancer.

Kindness Matters Monday

Her Facebook posts bring me to tears. Sometimes, when I feel like I am having a tough day, I see a picture of her doing something simple, like helping her kids with homework, and I am completely humbled. I realize how hard these simple things must be to do while receiving chemotherapy. But she keeps fighting, and she keeps LIVING. I am so grateful to know her.

Last week, she shared this thought on Facebook. It has stayed with me. Today, I asked her if I could share it with you, and she graciously gave me permission.

“I am surrounded by the absolute BEST people out there. From family to friends to ward (church congregation) members, my little family and I have been taken care of beyond what I could have ever imagined. A few years ago I remember hearing a talk about service (and while I have searched for it, I’m coming up empty-handed). Anyway, one thing that really stuck out to me was that we need to stop telling people “let me know if there is anything I can do” and start offering to do something concrete. Earlier this week, I got a text from a neighbor (one I have never even met in person mind you), telling me how much she loved to vacuum and how she felt better when her floors were clean and asked if she could come vacuum my house. If she would have asked me if she could do anything, I never would have said “sure, please come vacuum my house!” But it was so easy to say yes to her offer to do something that I really wanted done and couldn’t do myself. I may think I have a lot to complain about most days, but I am seriously so blessed.”

This story amazed me. What a simple thing to do – and what an impact it made. I know that sometimes when we see someone who is going through a big trial, whether illness or death or divorce or any other life challenge, we do … nothing.

Why?

Probably because we just don’t know what to do.

And maybe because we feel like anything we do will only be a tiny drop in a big bucket.

But today, take a moment to think about Amy’s story. Think about someone in your life who needs your help.

Then don’t just say, “Let me know if you need anything.”

Today – show up and do something.

That something might be vacuuming or folding laundry. It might mean homemade muffins or a gift card to dinner. It might mean babysitting or yard work or an envelope with cash in it. It might mean a phone call or a text message, a Facebook post or a card in the mail.

Just choose to do something. Because what might, to you, seem like not enough … might be just what someone needs today.

Kindness in the Parking Lot

Busy.

That’s how I would have described my morning.

Very, very busy.

After getting myself and my kids ready for the day, I dropped my daughter off at her school. My son and I hurried to the grocery store. We hurried and did some shopping. And we hurried and loaded our groceries in the car. I glanced at the clock and realized that we had just enough time to get to preschool (his school, my work). I put the car in reverse, took my foot off the gas … but the car didn’t roll back as it normally would. Surprised, I checked to make sure I wasn’t still in park. Still in too much of a hurry to process what was going on, I wiggled a few things around and began to push down on the gas pedal.

“MA’AM!” I heard from outside my car.

Startled, and a bit nervous, I rolled my window down a crack.

“Ma’am, you have a flat tire.”

Kindness Matters Monday

I started blankly at the man speaking to me, a total stranger. Then, sheepishly realizing the reason that my car hadn’t moved when I took my foot off the brake, I turned off the engine, hopped out of the car, and looked at my completely flat tire. I tried to think quickly, but this man stepped in and did the thinking for me.

“There’s a gas station right across the street. If you head over, you can fill up the tire, and that should get you to a tire shop.”

I thanked him for his kindness and carefully drove across the street. I got out, fumbled through my wallet for a few quarters, and glanced down at my skirt and dress shoes (my work clothes), wondering what I’d look like when I was finished with this. Suddenly, I realized that there was someone standing next to me.

It was him.

“I’ll help you with that, ma’am.”

I was at a complete loss for words. I fumbled out a “thank you” and watched as he tried to fill my tire with air.

And then I watched, when that didn’t work, as he tried to put on my spare tire for me.

And then I stared in complete amazement when he realized that my spare tire was flat too, and instead of leaving, took both of my tires, put them in his own car, and drove them to a tire store down the street. He returned with two repaired tires. He put on the “real” tire and put my spare back in the trunk.

Now, those who know me know that I am not often at a loss for words. But I was completely stunned. To let someone know that there is a problem with their car is thoughtful. To try to help is kind.

To take thirty minutes out of your morning to make sure that a woman and her small child are on the road safely again?

Who DOES that?

My new friend Michael, that’s who.

“Sir – I don’t even know what to say. I don’t know how to thank you for your kindness.”

“It’s fine. I just … I can’t see a lady who needs help and NOT help her.”

All morning, tears were in my eyes as I thought of this man who I’ve never seen before and might never see again. His kindness touched my heart, and his simple words reached deep into my soul.

Michael, you might forget today. You might not think again about the woman you helped this morning.

But I won’t forget you.

I won’t forget your courtesy.

I won’t forget your coupassion.

I won’t forget the way I felt as I was reminded, once again, that there are good people in the world. They’re all around us.

And I hope we can all learn from your example. I hope that the next time we see someone who needs us, we will remember Michael and we will decide, “I can’t see someone who needs help and NOT help.”

Kindness Matters Monday: We Remember

In a few days, the United States remembers one of the most tragic days in our history. This is a day that is very pensive for me, as I’m sure it is for you. And so today, our Kindness Matters Monday story is a little different than most.

Kindness Matters Monday

Today, we remember heroes who ran up burning staircases.

photo 5

We remember everyday citizens who charged their own airplane into a field, knowing they were saving countless lives by doing so.photo 2We remember the volunteer firefighter who, as a teenager, once held up traffic because a mother goose had been run over by a car and he had to get her babies to safety. Even as a young man, he had the instinct to rescue and to save. On 9/11, after the first tower was struck, he was one of the firemen called to help rescue.

When traffic was so congested that his truck couldn’t get any closer, he headed on foot to the first tower.

This week, I choose to remember the heroes.

Will you remember with me?

Kindness Matters Monday: A Birthday Heart Attack

“My mom turned 70, so we gave her a heart attack.”

Doesn’t sound much like a Kindness Matters Monday post, does it?

Kindness Matters Monday

But I love this story, and so will you. One Creative Mommy shared this awesome story on her website today about her mom who, when asked, said she didn’t want anything for her birthday:

” … When asked again, she replied, “I don’t really need anything. Why don’t you all just do something nice for someone else?” LIGHTBULB! Operation Service was born. With only a few weeks until her birthday, I divided the number 70 among my extended family (3 each), and asked each person to perform 3 acts of service for someone else before Grandma’s birthday.”

To read the story (and to see her cute pictures), click here to read her wonderful blog post. I love this story; what an amazing gift to give to someone who really doesn’t need (or even want) any more “stuff”. And what a wonderful teaching opportunity this was for the children in her family!

 

Kindness Matters Monday: They’re Listening

I have two kids. And of the many things that they need to be taught (and kids need to be taught EVERYTHING), at the top of my list right now: kindness, compassion, manners. I try to teach these lessons at home, away from home, with family, with friends … I try to be vigilant in reminding my kids to look people in the eye when we say thank you, to hold doors for strangers, to always find something to compliment, to choose to use good manners even when we’re tired.

And y’all. It’s exhausting.

Sometimes I stop and wonder if they’re learning anything, and if these years of training will pay off. Because sometimes, when they’re squirting all of the moms in the swimming pool or fighting over who had more cookies or basically acting like two wet cats tied up in a sack … it’s easy to think I’m not getting anywhere.

(Can I get an Amen?)

But the other day, as my kids and I were walking into the YMCA, a family was leaving. A mom and her kids were walking towards their car. And then suddenly, her teenage son noticed us. Without hesitation, he hurried back to the door. He held it for us. He smiled at my kids. And he walked away.

And I stood there, a little bit speechless.

I looked at my son, who I am diligently trying to teach to be a gentleman. I looked at this young man whose mother had clearly been teaching him the same things. And I smiled.

Because parents … it does pay off.

I am no parenting expert. I am seven years into this journey. I haven’t seen the “end result” of my work yet.

But I can see the result of other people’s work. And I love what I see.

I love seeing teenage boys who run out of their way to open a door for a woman and her children. I love seeing teenage girls holding the elevator door at the mall for a lady with a baby in her stroller.I love seeing big brothers helping little brothers on the playground, and I love seeing big sisters helping little sisters walk to the bathroom at Church. I love seeing it because it reminds me, “Keep going, Mom. It will pay off.”

So to you parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers of children … keep going. Keep teaching these little ones to be kind.

They’re listening.

Kindness Matters Monday

 

Kindness Matters Monday: The Crayon Initiative

Today for our Kindness Matters Monday story, I am excited to share a new-to-me website with you: The Crayon Initiative.

You’ve likely been to restaurants that provide crayons for children to use while they wait for their food. Have you ever wondered what happens to these crayons?

Some are taken home. Most are just thrown away.

Enter Bryan Ware.

If you’d like to hear a cool story about people taking an ordinary object – what some would consider to be just trash – and making an awesome product for hospitalized kids – read this story. And check them out on Facebook if you like reading cool stories about people making a difference.

Which, I’m guessing, you do. 🙂

I’m so grateful for a world full of so many wonderful people!

Kindness Matters Monday