A lot of times we’re so busy we forget to see the people we meet while we’re doing things and going places. The cashier handing back our change at Starbucks. The guy sweeping up the trash around the pumps at the gas station. The elderly woman and her little dog slowly approaching us on the sidewalk. The little kid blocking up every single aisle in the grocery store. So many times we cast our eyes right past the folks who are moving in our circles but who aren’t IN our circles. As a result, many people in our society are given the impression that they are somehow inferior. They are demoralized each time someone looks through them or past them as if their existence does not matter. Eventually, they begin to believe what they live.
In general, I am a big fan of making eye contact and do so fairly consistently, but I’ve made a concerted effort this month to make sure that every single person I encounter knows that I see him or her. Old or young, medical professional or busboy, clean and polished or dirty and ragged, I’ve acknowledged them all with at least a direct look and a smile, and when the circumstances warrant, a friendly comment or short conversation. I’ve noticed several people become more animated right before my eyes…their posture straightens, their eyes brighten, their faces relax. And suddenly they are the ones initiating eye contact and making conversation with strangers. It spreads like ripples on a pond.
Random acts of kindness don’t have to take a lot of planning. They needn’t require substantial financial resources. They can be as simple and as meaningful as looking someone straight in the eye and sending the message: “You matter.”
In an attempt to overwrite all the negative feelings I have about April, especially today, on the 8th anniversary of my dad’s unexpected death, I have made a pledge to complete 26 random acts of kindness this month. Reporting on these acts is the theme of my participation in this year’s April A to Z Challenge. If what you read here inspires you to commit your own RAoKs this month, please share what you’ve done in the comments. Together, we can rewrite April’s legacy!
If you’d like to check out how some other bloggers are responding to the A to Z Challenge, click here. Beware, there are 2083 participants at the time of this posting…I accept no responsibility for the hours you are likely to lose once you start browsing! 🙂