I live in Minneapolis, where there have been many cruel acts since George Floyd was murdered at the knee of a policeman. This tragic event caused a ripple effect that my city is reeling over. Violence, carjacking, and much more have taken place since that event.
Is it directly related to the incident with George Floyd? I’m unsure. What I do see is that acts of cruelty have spread and continue to spread throughout Minneapolis and the world. Every night we hear more on the news. It seems to be getting out of hand.
After listening to discouraging newscasts, I wonder, what can I do? I’m a retired little lady who has a limited amount of money and resources to make change. What I can do is focus on the ripple effect of meanness. This helps me be a little curt and disrespectful to the delivery guy, or the grocery store clerk.
It surfaces in a lack of caring for my neighbor or friend. I can be less friendly and outgoing and worry about my safety. It’s a ripple effect on me that flows over to the next person I meet. I’m on edge when I surround myself with thoughts of cruelty.
In the same way, a ripple effect of acts of kindness can be my focus. USA Today reported an act of kindness at a Starbucks drive-thru in Florida. This inexpensive and selfless act inspired an 11-hour chain of paying-it-forward.
It started with one person who paid for the drink of the next person in line. She didn’t wait for a thank you or recognition in any way. It was a selfless act of kindness. It’s possible that she never knew the ripple effect she had on the next 378 people!
In the same way, we may never know the effect a small act of kindness does in the world. I guarantee you – it has a ripple effect.
Wikipedia describes a random act of kindness as a non-premeditated, inconsistent action designed to offer kindness towards the outside world.Kindness here means a type of behavior marked by acts of generosity, consideration, or concern for others, without expecting praise or reward.
I think the part about not expecting praise or reward is one of the most significant part of this concept. It takes on a whole different meaning when we want something back from being kind.
Anne Herbert wrote her book Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty, published in February 1993, speaking about true stories of acts of kindness. This is not a new idea. Organizations and initiatives have popped up about paying it forward and performing random kind acts. This has given people hope and desire to do better toward each other. We can use this right now.
What random act of kindness have you given to the world? Have you received any? It can be as little as a smile to someone, holding a door open, changing a tire, or paying the bill for someone. This happened once in a grocery store where someone gave me the pennies I lacked to pay the entire bill.
When my son was small, I had trouble coming up with the bill for his day care one month. We had a particularly difficult month with car trouble, and other expenses of a young family. I met with the owner of the day care, who listened to my story, then told me for that month only, she would waive the bill. I was astounded that she would give me this opportunity.
She did not want me to pay it back next month or over time, but to start over fresh as the bill was now considered paid. Her only requirement was that I paid it forward someday when finances allowed me to do so. This act of kindness resulted in changing the way I treat others for my entire life.
Please take a few minutes to watch this video about the ripple effect of an act of kindness. This uplifts me and gives me courage to be kind. There are so many stories of how kindness has affected people. We hear the opposite on the news, but kindness exists. It could originate with you.
Sometimes as retired women, we limit ourselves or feel limited in what we have to offer. Where is that feeling coming from? Is it fear? Or feeling that we don’t matter?
Oh, we matter.
There’s someone in your world right now that could benefit from a kind act. As in the video, it’s small considerate steps taken that cause a ripple effect. I’m not saying we should be risky and offer a hitchhiker a ride or give our entire savings to a homeless person.
At all times we need to be aware of our safety. What I am saying is that our small friendly acts to others will begin a ripple of kind acts that we will not conceive of or know about. There is a continuous and spreading result of our actions, good or bad.
Do you believe that your acts of kindness could change the entire world? I believe this. Today, and every day, be alert to ways you can spread kindness even in the smallest of ways. Today, change the world.
Please share how you were the recipient of a kind act. What have you done to share kindness to the world? Do you feel your acts of kindness matter? Can you change the world in some small way? Let’s share and inspire each other to bring out the very best in everyone.