Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Be Kind, Ottawa!

                                              print by  http://www.BreedingFancy.etsy.com

We all know that we should be kind to one another, all of us crammed on this plot of land we call Earth. Unfortunately, it's easy to become jaded as yet another person is grumpy with you in line at a cash, or when someone lets a door close right in your face as you enter behind them. The best remedy to get those people right where it counts? In their hearts, by overloading them with kindness.

"Kindness Week" was the brainchild of Rabbi Reuven Bulka in response to what he saw as increased negativity in the world. The week is from February 17-24th, but the idea is to extend some kindness every single day, of course!

Having lived "away" for four years now, I'm thrilled to return home and see Ottawa doing something so positive and with such enthusiasm. While you could argue that kindness should extend more than a week (and it should!) I never think a reminder is a bad idea! As we zoom about our days, chock full of work and school and lessons and busy highways and commutes and horrific news stories, we can often get bogged down, pushing through the time with our heads down to anything and anyone else around us. This week lets us look up again and see that it doesn't take much to enrich the day, both for ourselves and for others. Our internal cups can get empty pretty quickly, and being kind goes a long way in refueling.

Kindness doesn't have to take a lot of money, time or effort. It can be as simple as saying "Thank You!" as you get your Timmy's, or holding a door open for a few people in the queue. It can be as easy and bending down to retrieve a dropped item for someone, rather than having them strain to do so. The beauty of kindness is that once you are looking for opportunities to extend it, they seem to appear everywhere.

One of my main focuses as a parent has always been in raising kind, polite children. I have tried to teach them from a very young age to put themselves in others' shoes before saying or doing something that might be hurtful. How would they feel? One of my favourite sayings is, "There but for the Grace of God, go I."  I try to keep this in mind in my everyday interactions with others. It could just as easily be me in any given circumstance, and I'd hope someone would extend a smile, a laugh, a hand. You never know how that simple act can change the course of someone's mood or day.

My family and I bought a few extra groceries this week and will be dropping them into a donation box for the local Food Bank. We'll be thanking each and every individual that serves us, helps us, interacts with us in some way. We'll be spreading the word about being kind with our actions and words, and by talking about "Kindness Week" to others. We'll be looking for opportunities to be kind whenever and wherever we can.

If you're looking for ways to do your part, you can check out http://kindottawa.ca/2011/be-kind/events for ideas and upcoming events.

It doesn't require money and it takes little time, but the effects of spreading a little kindness into the world can go a long, long, way.

Be Kind, Ottawa.

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