kindness activist

kindness activist

Friday, January 15, 2016

Intergenerational Kindness

A Facebook friend, Karen, shared an amazing example of intergenerational kindness that she and her family undertook over the Christmas holidays.  Her family’s deliberate, intentional kindness touched many people and the effects of it rippled out into the community.  Here is her story:

“Acts of Kindness started out as an idea for a new family tradition introduced by my daughter-in-law, Callie. The intent was something fun and meaningful for Advent for our family. We wanted to incorporate a new tradition that felt true to the real celebration of the season, but still be lots of fun, too.

Karen's grandchildren getting into the holiday spirit
Together, we decided that every day we would each commit to a random act of kindness. This would be a wonderful opportunity to help teach their children (our grandchildren) to be generous and thoughtful during the holiday season, as well as a reminder of how really powerful and simple kindness can be. Participants were my husband and I (Karen and Roger, the grandparents), our adult children (Kevin and Callie), and our precious grandchildren, Molly (in kindergarten, 6 years old) and Ben (4 years old).

When doing our Acts of Kindness we noticed that when randomly helping others there was a feeling of REAL joy inside. It is the kind of joy that can only come from serving others. It’s a joy you cannot fully comprehend unless you are engaged. And how quickly the little ones were able to understand and really feel the joy!

JOY personified - Molly in a Christmas pageant 
One day Ben and I were walking back to the car when his school day was over. A man was on the roof of the church and Ben called out, "Hi up there!" The man broke out in a huge smile and said "Hi!. Ben immediately turned to me and said "That was an Act of Kindness!.  Of course, being only 4, he also used “acts of kindness” in his favor – one day after school he asked if we could go get ice cream.  When I hesitated a bit he piped up, “It would be an act of KINDNESS!”.  Needless to say, we got ice cream…

Ok, maybe THIS example of kindness was a tiny bit self-serving, but you have to give it to the kid for trying! :)
We will absolutely do this new tradition again. We so underestimate the power of kindness and the "ripple down" effect it has on others. One act of kindness the children did was to set up a lemonade stand in the front yard. The proceeds they made were donated to the ECHO Food Pantry. Well, the morning after the lemonade sale, 4 large bags of groceries appeared on my front doorstep. There was no name on the bags or any explanation. It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but I realized – this was a food donation to the Pantry!  Because of the acts of the children someone saw the day before, a stranger was moved to help others, too.  Do you see what I mean by “ripple down”?

I regret that I was not in town to stop at this lemonade stand!  LOOK at the signs!  I love the sign Ben is holding "WELCOME FRIEND    S".  It is perfect!  The kids took all the money they earned to the grocery store and bought food, then donated it to the local food pantry.  What a generous act of kindness.

Most everyone reacts positively to kindness. Oddly enough, when sharing kindness with strangers, it sometimes felt like a barrier was lifted. It was as if, for a brief moment, we shared a kind of kinship with each other.

Molly (kindergarten) even asked to help the teacher and read to some of her classmates. When Kevin and Callie questioned Molly about her actions, she replied that she was doing her Acts of Kindness at school. Kids really do "get it" when they do it themselves. I give so much credit to my amazing daughter-in-law. She lives her faith and is teaching our grandchildren by example!

The whole family went to a "Fun Run" for Tidwell Hospice.  
Hopefully, doing Acts of Kindness will continue to be something we are deliberate in thinking about and will be a gentle reminder to take advantage of the daily opportunities to make our world a better place.”


Susan here - are YOU a kindness activist??  Have you given, received, or seen KINDNESS that you would like to share?  Please  write to me at and tell me about it.  Kindness shared with others starts the RIPPLE EFFECT that Karen explained - when people see/hear about kindness, they are inspired to share kindness, too!  Help me get the word out, and be a KINDNESS ACTIVIST!

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