I think we would all agree that being kind should not be limited to a single day of the year. Of course not. But perhaps it is helpful to have an excuse to think about how we can be kind to each other, not just on February 17, but every day.
I am going to share with you some acts of kindness that I have observed, been encouraged by, and motivated to go and do likewise.
I received a text earlier this month. Did The River Center have anyone who would be encouraged by some flowers on Valentine’s Day? Yes!! Beautiful bouquets were delivered by our staff to some moms on Valentine’s Day. A thoughtful and kind act expressed through beauty.
I am amazed at how the volunteer tax preparers show kindness through every tax return they prepare for community members who come to The River Center’s free tax preparation program. These volunteers have studied the tax materials, taken a test to become certified at the highest level, and give of their time and skill to do taxes. Let me just explain that doing taxes is not what I would call a good time. It is not in my skill set. It is definitely not something I would do in my free time. I totally honor and respect the volunteer tax preparers. They are incredible and they make a difference for so many in our community. When a taxpayer walks out of The River Center with their completed tax return, they are walking taller, lighter, and grateful. Thank you volunteer tax preparers! You are repeatedly doing acts of kindness all through the tax season.
Then there are those times when someone walks into your office and puts a treat on your desk. No special day, just because. A kind act. A return smile.
In December The River Center received $20,000 from an anonymous donor. No idea where it came from. From my perspective that is a random (as in unexpected) and very kind and thoughtful act.
There is a project that seems somewhat overwhelming to me. A Board member offered to help me. That is an act of kindness. I am grateful and can now see that the project just might be doable.
Having the person in front of you pay for your coffee definitely qualifies as a random act of kindness.
A delivery person going out of their way to make sure an elderly person has their groceries or packages where they can reach them.
Holding the door for someone else. Yes, that is an act of kindness.
What about kind words? Maybe they aren’t acts, but words can change the whole direction of the day- positive or negative. Thanking a child for helping to clean up a mess they didn’t make, noticing someone’s special efforts on the job, pointing out how someone has uniquely contributed to the team effort. Kind words are like gold, it is good to be generous with them.
Kindness, whether random or planned, whether actions or words, do indeed connect us with each other. Kindness encourages the recipient, brightens a day, brings a smile. If you would like to share an act of kindness with someone in our community, please contact me. I have some ideas of how you could bring a smile.
Margaret Nelson, Executive Director
The River Center Family and Community Resource Center