Acts of Kindness

Have you even noticed how often complete strangers can make or break your entire day?

Like if someone stops their car on a busy street to let you in. That can really make my day. On the flip side, someone honking at me because I’m not driving quick enough can stay with me for hours, a black cloud over my head.

Often I wonder why people are so aggressive and angry, especially when driving. That is probably for another blog though.

However, when I see anger and aggression towards me in any form I try not to take it personally. I try to reason that it has nothing to do with me. That person is having a bad moment in time and to try to be empathetic instead of angry back.

I know it’s not the normal way to think. I’ve been very blessed in my life to have been raised by parents who have instilled these life lessons onto me.

I remember doing a long haul drive once with my father. I was still in high school and new to driving but my father trusted me enough to dose off while I drove. When he woke he found me in a stand off position. We were on a two lane highway and there was a car on our tail driving madly. I was holding steady right next to another car, not letting them pass as a punishment for their rude tail gating. My father assessed the situation and said, “Pull to the side.”

I started to complain how they were rushing me and that I was in the right, that they should not follow that closely.

He said, “If someone wants to pass you, just let them. You have no idea what’s going on. What if they are angry and have a gun? Is it worth it to be right?”

My mother was the same. She was the kind of person that gave rides after school to kids who lived in the projects because their parents couldn’t.

As many of you know, the Calisoff clan has been sitting around the dinner table for months now saying what we are grateful for. Often there are repeats. Ben is always grateful for the special treats his teachers give him and for the dessert he hasn’t eaten yet. Jack is grateful for outdoor play and in the winter he’s started to be grateful for school! The twins often name things we did on other days or repeat the older boys. They still need prompting to remember the nice things that happened that day but I don’t think it’s too early for them to start.

In fact I’ve realized it’s time to up the life lessons in the Calisoff household to the next level.

Acts of Kindness.

Last night I introduced the second level of my home schooling efforts to make my kids into little mensches. When I mentioned it, they had no idea what an act of kindness was.

“Jack, it’s like when we were in Target tonight and you found a penny and gave it to Ben instead of keeping it yourself. It made him so happy. That was an act of kindness.”

Jack got it right away and started to try to do nice things for the twins as well.

Ben still didn’t get it.

So I continued, “Ben, if you share that is an act of kindness. Let’s say someone in school lost their scissors and you give them yours to use. That is an act of kindness.”

“I’m not sharing!” Ben said.

“Well Ben, if don’t want to share, there are plenty of other ways to do acts of kindness. You do something you don’t want to do that your aide asks to make her happy, that can be act of kindness to.” (Might as well try to get some good behavior out of this exercise as well!)

I also told the kids I would tell them my own act of kindness, so I’d better get cracking myself! Anyone reading this need any help with anything?

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