This week is our perfect opportunity to spread some kindness, peace, joy, love, and civility and show the world what we’re made of. Yes, I’m asking you to add one more thing to your To Do list this week —trust me, if you choose even one thing off the list below, it will tickle God’s heart.
To Do List for Be Kind to Humankind Week
- Shut up and listen. I was listening to National Public Radio today and a segment about a suicide hotline volunteer touched me immensely. The speaker said the big SHUT UP AND LISTEN sign posted on the wall of the prevention center was a gentle reminder of the critical importance of listening. Not to fix things, not to offer solutions, not to pass judgment–to just listen and be comfortable with silence. Sometimes we need silence to gather our thoughts and gently decipher what we’re trying to say. Let’s pause, be active listeners, and pay attention to body language and key words so we hear what is, as well as what isn’t, being said.
- Be intentional. Some folks just have to whine and complain and they’re not satisfied until we are miserable too. They make being kind difficult, but we must be kind anyway. The hurt that’s manifesting itself in this cruel, hard exterior is a protective shell to avoid further hurt. The folks who deserve kindness the least are the ones who need it most. When in doubt, do #1.
- Follow your first mind. My dear Uncle Carey always said, “My first mind told me…” and I always wondered how many minds he had… but as I got older, I understood. Your first thought is usually right and your most valuable—follow that one. If a visit with Aunt Lucy comes to mind, go now and see her for a hug and some caramel cake. If a thought or a person keeps coming to mind, say a prayer if you can’t follow up, but don’t put important things off for tomorrow.
- If it touched your heart, do it for others. When grief or tragedy strikes, knowing what to do is often difficult. Here’s what not to do: Don’t fix your mouth to say “If you need me, call me.” Usually in these situations, the somebody you said that to is in such a place, they haven’t a clue what they need. Think about what would be helpful if your whole world were upside down. When there’s a death, I try to gather paper products—paper towels, tissue, napkins, foil, garbage bags, plates, cups, plastic ware– stuff you need but don’t think about or have enough of for the hordes that come—and take them the first day. I also take postage stamps and give them to someone who will know where they are when it’s time to write the million thank you notes.
- Make today count, volunteer. Whether it’s spending time at the food pantry, the Humane Society, reading to someone whose eyesight has failed, delivering Meals on Wheels—you decide, but helping others is the perfect pick-me-up and that smile you get lasts all day! If you are too busy to spare an hour or two a month, my dears, you are too busy.
- Get to know one of your neighbors or church members. We’ve gotten so busy and churches are so large that we come and go without a clue who lives next door or who’s next to us on the pew. Aim for at least one new person every week in September.
- Make someone’s day: Send a mushy note or some flowers today. Be blessed, keep shining and remember Kindness Matters!
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.