Posts Tagged kindness

Twelve Days of Christmas – Follow Through- Three

My third of the extended Twelve Days of Christmas came on February 17th which is the date I have chosen for each month because it is my wife’s birthday and St. Patrick’s Day. I am happy to report that I did follow through and it does feel good.

I have marked my 2015 calendar for each of the twelve months as a way of extending the wonderful spirit of Christmas throughout the entire year. My hope is that others will join in the spirit and make it a wonderful time for all of us. It does not need to be a grand gesture. Just make it something simple. Something you will do.

On March 15, I met a lady in the Honey Baked Ham Store who knows how to spread joy. She was buying ham to take to a family whose mother is in the hospital. She took the time to share some ideas with me and my friend Bob. When I thanked her for her helpfulness, she responded. “Isn’t that what life is all about, helping each other?” Wow!

I am writing this as a part of my accountability to myself to remind me to follow through. Please join me as we go through the year. It takes so little to brighten another person’s day.

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International Kindness Day – November 13, 2014

International Kindness Day

How will you celebrate International Kindness Day on November 13th? If you are like most other people, you will simply ignore it.

It is not really that hard to celebrate it. Just take an extra minute to be polite. Say something encouraging to a counter person.  Say Something Nice; Be a Lifter. Give an older person your place in line. Open a door for someone. Say something affirming to your children or someone else’s children. Leave a bigger tip than usual. Call an old friend. Visit someone who doesn’t get many visitors. Write a thank you note. You will feel good at the end of the day.

Dr. Arthur Caliando, retired pastor of Marble Collegiate Church in New York, said it well. “Be kinder than you think it is necessary to be because the other person needs it more than you know.”

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The Side of Kindness: Recovering the Lost Art of Being Kind by Sandra Makowski, SSMN.

Sandra Makowski explores the deplorable state of kindness in modern society and offers simple suggestions to recapture a kinder gentler more affirming culture. “Why can’t disagreements be viewed as healthy and acceptable as long as they are reasonable and realistic?”  She uses her personal experiences to illustrate much that has gone wrong. Each chapter contains activities to help us on our journey.

After much internal conflict,  I decided that chapter 29, “Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There,” is the most significant one for me; however, I had previously decided that chapter 24, “Not Counting Women and Children – Where’s the Kindness in That?,”  is the most powerful. It certainly is one of the most provocative. She compares the historical bad treatment that women have received from the church to spousal abuse. As you read each chapter, I predict that you will experience similar struggles in deciding which chapter is the most relevant to you. Each chapter challenges our basic assumptions about ourselves, other people and God.

Sister Sandra has written a deceptively simple book; however, it tugs at every motive and action of our daily lives. She challenges us to live as if we really believe the teachings of Jesus. Each chapter begins with well chosen quotations. The book is available at

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How You Can Make Someone’s Day Better in 21 Seconds –

How You Can Make Someone’s Day Better in 21 SecondsMitch Carnell
Posted: Monday, September 9, 2013 5:36 am

How You Can Make Someone's Day Better in 21 Seconds | Mitch Carnell, Kindness

When we enlarge our circle to bring others in, we open ourselves to new experiences, new ideas and a broader understanding of our world. We can do this in 21 seconds, Carnell says.

“It only takes 21 seconds to be kind to someone.” That’s what Wayne Soares told a Boys and Girls Club in Boston.

Soares, a former sports broadcaster on ESPN Radio and Fox Sports, is now an author and motivational speaker.

He recounted an episode from his youth with his Boston Red Sox idol. His idol missed a golden opportunity to encourage him but instead treated him with disrespect. “He embarrassed me and it was mean.”

Soares then performed a little role-play demonstrating kindness and had an attendee time him.

“How long did that take?” Soares asked.

“Twenty-one seconds,” the student replied.

In 21 seconds, we can brighten another person’s day. We can make her or him feel good about herself or himself. It doesn’t take much time or cost any money to turn an encounter into a positive one.

Joel Osteen, a mega-church pastor, says that it is not his calling to beat people down. They come to church already beaten down. “I want to lift people up.”

If I ask you, what is the meanest thing someone ever said to you, you could answer me instantly. On the other hand, if I ask you what is the nicest thing someone ever said to you, you would have a hard time remembering.

I often use an exercise where I ask my listeners about words. When I ask them for nice words, they are very slow in answering. When I ask them about mean or ugly words, the words tumble out in torrents.

When others say kind things to us, we are often suspicious. “What do you want?” we think to ourselves.

Sometimes it is because we have been stung by someone who does have ulterior motives, but why do we varnish everyone with the same brush? Certainly we don’t want to be fooled or trapped again, but isn’t that an unhealthy way to live our lives?

Yes, there are those who will take advantage of our trusting nature, but I refuse to give control of my life over to those people. In my experience, there are far more people who are kind and generous. I am going to take my chances with them.

I want to be a person who encourages others. I want others to be happy that I am in their lives, and I want others to be glad to see me.

I am always happy to see my friend, Ken Willingham, a business executive who always has a smile on his face and kind words to share. Ken maintains that small words, such as “please” and “thank you,” make all the difference in how people react to us.

Our folk language tells us that we catch more flies with honey than we do with vinegar. The Bible tells us, “To let no evil talk come out of our mouth,” and that, “A soft word turns around wrath.” We know these things to be true.

Since I first read the poem, “Outwitted,” by Edwin Markham, I have had many occasions to reflect on its simple message.

He drew a circle that shut me out;
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In!

When we enlarge our circle to bring others in, we open ourselves to new experiences, new ideas and a broader understanding of our world. We can do this in 21 seconds.

My late wife had a gift for making others feel accepted and valued. While teaching 3-year-olds in kindergarten, a little boy came to her distraught. All the other boys were wearing superhero underwear, but his was stark white.

She said, “You have superhero underwear. You are the Ice Man.” The little boy bounded off to join his friends as happy as he could be in his Ice Man hero underwear.

Soares said that as a young boy the treatment he received from his idol frightened him. Remember the Ice Man story when you are about to put someone down, give someone the cold shoulder or ignore his or her presence.

Being kind requires so little of us, but the rewards are so great.

Mitch Carnell is a consultant sp

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