Recently, I was in a hurry to pick up a friend whose car had broken down. I didn’t mind helping him out, but to be honest, I was neck-deep in work, and I was under a lot of stress.
I jumped into my car and headed down the road. Then I came to a traffic jam, then a cyclist weaving all over the road in front of me, and then my friend wasn’t ready to leave work yet.
All the time I could see my inbox filling up to bursting point, and steam started coming out of my ears.
I knew what I was doing was important. I was helping someone. I was helping them for no reward, and I wasn’t getting anything in return.
Or was I?
A Kindness Ninja
Where has kindness gone?
No one can deny the popularity of reality TV shows. There is thousands broadcast every day across the world. They involve cook-offs, celebrities eating worm-ridden soup, people losing weight – just about everything you can think of.
Audiences love seeing other people in distress and discomfort. They enjoy seeing their pain, and the over-riding sense of shame contestants suffer when they lose.
But, have reality TV shows killed off kindness?
Another byproduct of our busy lives is a new phenomenon called road rage. This involves a driver of a car being so incensed by the actions of someone else on the road they actually stop the car and start a fight.
Road rage can be so dangerous cars have been damaged, and people have been seriously hurt or even killed.
What has gotten into people? Since when has not used your indicators or cutting someone off in traffic been so bad it justifies hurting another human being?
Where has our patience and calmness gone?
Waiting for help
The old lady in the shoe store
As I was waiting for my friend to finish work, I saw an old lady walking down the street. She reminded me of another old lady I met in a shoe store years before.
I had gone into the store with my 14-year-old son who was looking for the latest and the greatest in sports shoes. The old lady was sitting alone on a bench with a box of new shoes on her knee. The truth was she was in our way.
I smiled and asked her how she was. She smiled and nodded politely back, but she didn’t answer. She just sat there.
My son needed to sit down, but he knew it would be impolite to ask the old lady to move so he sat on the floor. She saw him and said she had really bad arthritis which had just flared up. She couldn’t get her old shoes off to try the new ones on and was hoping an assistant would come and help her.
I asked to look at her new shoes and wondered if she would mind if I helped her – a complete stranger fussing around her feet. She might have felt really vulnerable and insecure.
Well, I needn’t have worried. My son shuffled over, one new shoe on, one old shoe off, quickly untied the old lady’s laces and ever-so-gently took off her shoes. Then he reached up, took one of the new shoes and carefully slipped her feet into it. Then he did the same with the other shoe.
I smiled and helped the old lady to her feet, and without a word from any of us she smiled and went to the counter to pay for her new shoes.
My son finished putting his new shoes on, bounced around and begged me to buy them.
How could I say ‘no’?
Then I realized something.
While anger, rage, and cruelty are noisy and get a lot of attention.
Kindness is quick, silent and gets the job done – kindness is the ninja we all need in our lives.
About the author – Susan Day
Susan Day is a children’s author and writer. Her blog, Astro’s AdventuresBook Club, is full of ideas and tips for grandparents, parents and teachers to support them in helping children become better readers. As well, Susan has created a guide to help grandparents build a more meaningful relationship with their grandchildren through their love and passion for books.
Susan lives in country Australia with four dogs, three boss cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo. And, apart from blogging, writing and reading; she loves coffee, painting and learning to box.
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