Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Premeditated Acts of Kindness

Sharon Wildwind

While I write this blog, my husband is in the kitchen washing dishes. Which I love not only because the dishes get washed, but because it was a deliberate, premeditated act of kindness.

Forget this random act nonsense. The problem with randomness is, in the words of Paul Stookey’s song, For if loving is the answer, then who’s the giving for? I suspect random kindness has more to do with what the giver gets than the recipient.

A couple of days ago I was in line behind a woman who was three cents short of the amount she needed to make a purchase. I had three cents in my hand. It would have been so easy to say, “Here, let me get that,” and hand the clerk the money. But I didn’t. Money might be a sore spot for this woman. My random act of kindness might have embarrassed her, or made her feel worse than giving her an opportunity to rummage in her purse and come up with the three cents herself.

If she hadn’t found the three cents, abandoned her purchase, and started to walk out of the store, would I have stepped in? Maybe. Probably. I’m not sure. Sometimes emotion takes over for common sense.

Does this mean that I’m advocating for only planned, rational giving? Not at all. I love surprises and grand gestures as much as the next gal. In fact, I’d love to see people give more often, give more, and put some thought into those gifts.

Here’s my virtual bouquet to all of you for Valentine’s Day. Let’s pass those hugs around. And a little chocolate, if you’re so inclined.

Hugs from Calgary.


Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Happy Valentine's Day to you too, Sharon. :)

Sandra Parshall said...

Sometimes the kindest thing a person can do is to keep his/her mouth shut. It's tempting -- believe me, I know how tempting it is! -- to offer your "honest opinion" of someone's behavior or relationship or clothing choice, but staying silent may be the kinder thing to do.

Julia Buckley said...

An interesting idea. Thanks for the bouquet!