The Kindness Present

two woman hugging each other
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

Of all the gifts to give or receive this holiday season, kindness is by far the greatest. Everyone is fighting a battle, even during the holidays. Everyone needs kindness, everyone.

Many people during the holidays are grieving lost loved ones. It is a time of year that reminds us of the people (and animals) who are no longer here with us. Grief can be overwhelming for many during this season. Even if they do not show it outwardly, they still carry it on the inside. An ocean of sadness and emotional turmoil. These people need kindness.

Other people struggle with chronic physical and mental illness and the holidays can increase these issues. Stress can increase these issues and the holidays for all their joy are often filled with stress. A little kindness can make these things seem less overwhelming.

Still others struggle with life/work stress, family relationship issues, financial issues and more. All of these things can impact emotions and physical bodies leading to stress reactions, anger, sadness, and substance use. A little kindness can let them know they are not alone.

There are people who do not have anyone to spend the holidays with for so many reasons. They are alone. They are lonely. One act of kindness could change their lives.

Even if you have family to spend the holidays with and you don’t struggle with many of these other issues, there can still be holiday stress and family dynamics that aren’t perfect even in your own celebrations. Show kindness to your own family AND to yourself. It is important, it is necessary, it is needed.

Kindness isn’t about money. It isn’t about things. It can be as simple as a smile, a word, a hug to give the kindness present this season. Remember everyone is struggling with something right now maybe even you and your present of kindness can make all the difference – to them and to yourself.

Thank You For Being Kind

warm fuzzy 2

For the last couple of years working in a high school, I have been trying to find some way to thank students for being kind.  So much time is spent on what students do wrong, in school and out, and hardly any is spent on the things they do right.  No act of kindness is ever wasted, but in our society of “what awful thing is happening right now” kindness is not very often recognized.  Media outlets traffic in tragedy, disaster, evil, and shocking, if it truly is even possible to shock people anymore, events.  Kindness if it is recognized at all is something they throw in for a second or two after we have been sufficiently inundated with the horrific.

In schools, often times, it is the students who present challenges for teachers and staff that are talked about most.  They are the students seen in the principal’s offices most.  They are the students the media creates stories around.  They are the students everyone sees and hears about.  An assistant principal can spend the better part of the day in a high school dealing with discipline issues.  It can become what those who work in schools look for and the thought of looking for kindness doesn’t cross the mind.

Believe it or not, there are kind children who attend high school.  I know many people may not believe this to be true because of all they read and hear, but I have seen it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears.  I think it’s past time to start to see this behavior more and perhaps we would see less of the less desirable behavior.

Encouraging kindness allows more kindness to grow and in the pay it forward fashion to reach out onto the strings that connect us all.  In that spirit, something I saw on Facebook last week has become my idea in action for my new office in the counseling department.  The Warm Fuzzy jar idea HERE will be transformed into this idea.  I am not going to label the jar as a “kindness” jar.  I will get some kind of jar and will likely apply some kind of appropriate Bronc Nation design and have it on the desk.  Whenever I hear or see a student showing kindness, I will have them fill out a small slip of paper with their name on the front and the kindness they showed on the back.  These will be placed into the jar and at the end of each week (if I can find someone to donate little gifts to give like cards for food places or some other little gifts), I will draw out a slip and that person will receive one of the little gifts.  The slips will then be placed on some kind of display board all about kindness with the acts of kindness showing for all to see who come in the office.  And each week, we will start the jar anew.

Being kind is such an easy thing to do, but it is not often enough the chosen thing to do.  Sometimes it isn’t easy to be kind.  If you are a student who is homeless, struggling with family issues, fighting substance abuse, or just trying to get through freshman Biology with a passing grade – kindness might not be the first reaction.  But if society is to ever have less of the horrible, kindness must become the first reaction and it must be encouraged in others in order to grow within ourselves.  “Be kind to everyone you meet, you never know what battles they are fighting.”