“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” Amelia Earhart
As I enter the church door, I am met by Noel, who is performing usher duties for the morning service. We shake hands in greeting. And, then he mentions that he is really enjoying my writings and what I am doing in my current journey. His compliments are genuine and appreciated. He continues with kind remarks about my daughter Kelly and husband Larry’s family who attend the same church.
I can’t quote exactly the words that Noel uses, but the message is clear. He says that we are making a difference in the world. It is an unplanned…random conversation filled with heartfelt and sincere observations. I thank Noel for his kind comments and tell him that I am very much enjoying my current journey in life.
Our conversation probably lasted less than a minute, but for me the outcome was much larger. If you are a normal human being, we often wonder if what we are doing is making a difference. Sometimes the kind of things we may be doing, the true difference makers, are not visible in objective evaluations. They may not fit on any list of stats.
The Gallup Company’s 12-question survey about employee engagement, representing decades of scientific research, reveal that meaningful, long-term happiness at work is not the result of pay and benefits, even though those categories receive a huge amount of attention in our world today. What matters at work, relationship issues and having passion for what we do, also matches what we want apart from work as well. The great Gandhi said it well, “We are one indivisible whole.” The person at work is the same person at home. I believe that the heart of Gallup’s research confirms a core life desire we all share…
We want to make a difference.
What Noel said to me in less than a one-minute spur of the moment random engagement is that what I am doing is making a difference. And, in that one comment, I find something more valuable than any compensation I might receive from a speaking engagement or selling books. Kindness through a few words of praise may make a person’s day. This works for me all the time. Often, the effect exceeds a day.
“There is nothing more valuable than kindness. A little bit can go a long way. A week. A year. A lifetime.” Quote from The Christmas Cure movie
Our country now has dedicated to the calendar year a National Random Acts of Kindness Day. There is even a website that promotes this philosophy. You have heard about Pay it Forward acts. Positive behavior that can spread like dominoes falling in a line. I applaud all of these efforts.
Most of us love gifts. For me, I love kind words more than any gift. Are we not trying to share a message when we provide a material gift? That message may be the kindest random act we can ever do for another person.
When is the last time you said to another person one of the following words?
You are making a difference.
I believe in you.
I love you.
You are really good at what you do!
Thanks for all you do.
I am so proud of you!
I will accept one of these expressions all day long. And, it will make my day all day long… maybe my week and month. Noel’s words enter my mind several times during the day, extending into the week, and finally into this newsletter. Thanks, Noel, for making more than my day. You understand kindness. What is the value of kind words? Priceless!
I personally find it easier to write a check or give something of material value in a present. It is harder to verbalize the kind words that are really behind the gift. But they are often what the other person needs and desires to receive.
The next time you are giving a gift to someone, think about what is special about that person. Be sure to share the words you are thinking.