Do you remember back to a time when things like good manners and a warm smile we’re valued? A time when people would sit out on their front porches after dinner, saying hello to their neighbors as they walked by, maybe even engaging in a conversation.
I feel as though this type of lifestyle has been lost, the world is growing colder with each passing year and that is a sad prospect. What’s sadder still is how, despite new technology “making the world smaller” people are growing farther and farther apart. Imagine you tried to encourage a stranger, say your waiter for example, by doing something as simple as letting them know you appreciated that they took your order and brought out your food. I would venture to guess that their reaction to genuine thanks and interest would be surprise and perhaps even cautiousness. Simple kindness has become something strange and unknown. Shocking us when we run across it.
Showing kindness is such an easy thing to do though. With this in mind, myself, my fellow youth ministry staff, and around thirty high school kids set out to to do just that. Show simple kindness. We did the most random things, buying the meals of people behind us in line at a fast food restaurants, cleaning up trash at a park or bringing flowers to someone who had recently lost a friend. We also made a point to be cheerful and engaging with all those we interacted with along the way. So at each stop, the fast food restaurants and grocery store, we gave encouragement cards to the employees telling them that we appreciated them and hoped they had a wonderful day. In every case our acts of kindness were met with two reactions, first confusion and surprise and then happiness and thanks. These small deeds really brought joy to people and even to ourselves. All it really we really did was smile and try intentionally to be kind and thoughtful. Its not a hard attitude to pick up on.
Even as we were driving back to the church we saw a homeless man who was waving at every passer by and so we stopped to talk to him. When we left he had the the biggest smile on his face. (His name was Pete by the way.) All we did was talk to him. It made his day.
I’d challenge anyone who reads this to do the same. Stop and talk to people, smile at strangers, say please and thank you, show genuine care and interest in peoples lives, express the love of Christ. Its not hard, showing God’s love and adding joy to someone’s day can be done through the simple things.
“Do you know that nothing you do in this life will matter, unless it is about loving God and loving the people He has made.”