Acts of kindness

January 4, 2013 

The holidays are over. Vacations are through, the kids are back in school, and we’re back at work.

The lull of winter is upon us.

As we settle back into our daily routines, I’ve noticed time and again that after the Christmas holiday is gone, the thought of kindness often takes a backseat in our lives.

In the spirit of giving during the holidays, we’re constantly reminded of the need to spend more time spreading love, hope and cheer to others.

However, sharing love, hope, and cheer to our neighbors, as well as strangers, should really never go out of style.

But it does seem to tire after Jan. 1.

However, it doesn’t have to be Christmas to do a good deed or simply be friendly.

Maybe you’ll have to think twice about cutting three other cars off in the grocery store parking lot to get a good spot near the front door, or will try to be less perturbed when you have to stand in line for something.

I’ve been guilty of that.

Maybe it’s about volunteering to help your wife do the dishes, or helping your husband in the yard – or taking it up a notch by volunteering at a local non-profit once a month.

If time is something you don’t have a lot of it, maybe you can commit to giving $10 or $20 bucks a month to a local food pantry. There’s quite a few organizations in Cass County who do a good job feeding the hungry all year round.

Instead of making a lofty weight loss goal for the new year that’ll become only a distant memory in a few weeks, maybe resolve to do one act of kindness each day. If that takes a lot of intention on your part, maybe settle to do one a week.

A couple weeks ago I had the privilege to report on a group of Harrisonville cheerleaders who gave of themselves to make Christmas a little brighter for a young girl with a brain tumor.

They gave their time unselfishly, making an unusual wish a reality, and they were rewarded with a huge smile of a precious child.

I know they touched my life a little this Christmas season.

I was once again reminded of the theme of kindness last weekend when my friend, Melody, invited me to participate in her 20th birthday celebration.

But instead of doing the usual thing – a dinner out, maybe a movie, and certainly some shopping with the girls, Melody wanted to do the opposite and make her day a little brighter for others as well.

So, on Sunday afternoon, another friend and I went to her house for a simple dinner with her parents, and afterward we set out to do 20 acts of kindness for each year of life Melody has been given.

I was blown away at my friend’s humility.

Together, the three of us chipped in to pay for the $20 order of the girl in the car behind us in the drive thru of Starbucks.

At Walmart, we left a little note in three different spots in the toy section attached with a dollar for a little kid to find.

Melody wrote short letters of appreciation to a few people in her life, as well as leaving a bag of M&Ms in her mailbox and a note of thanks for her mailman.

During our final “act of kindness” for the day, we left a $5 fast food gift card under the windshield of a car that appeared to be in serious need of repair parked outside of a store.

When we were finished with our project, I told my friend that this was the best birthday celebration I’ve been to in a long time.

There’s something special about giving and being kind, and it’s not too hard to figure out.

Not only does it make someone else’s day a little brighter, at least for a few minutes, it makes you feel good, too, that you made a difference in the life of another human being.

Bethany Bashioum is a reporter/photographer for the Cass County Democrat Missourian. She can be reached at 816-380-2228 Ext. 2227 or bbashioum@demo-mo.com.

Bethany Bashioum is a reporter/photographer for the Cass County Democrat Missourian. She can be reached at 816-380-2228 Ext. 2227 or bbashioum@demo-mo.com.

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