When you are kind, YOU feel good.
Let’s talk about times that we show kindness and how it makes us feel. Have you ever pulled a child off the angel tree at your local Walmart or Church? How did it feel when you were out shopping for your ‘angel’? How did you feel when you thought about how much they would enjoy their new treasures?
What about preparing a meal for your neighbor who just came home with their new baby. Did you try a little harder on your meal prep? Did you think back to when you were just bringing home your children? When you stopped by their house to bring your meal, did you enjoy those smiles. How did you feel as you walked or drove away? Content? Happy?
When is the last time you bought that perfect gift for your spouse? When was the last time you did something truly awesome for them? Did you wash their car? Buy them the perfect gift? Maybe you picked them up a drink at a candy bar at the gas station on the way home from work?
How did you feel when you were serving others? I bet it felt good! My mom has a weird way of describing this feeling… so I ask: did you get a big warm fuzzy feeling on the inside?
When you are kind to others, THEY feel good.
How do you feel when someone does something for you? Do you think those on the receiving side of your kindness feel good when you share kindness with them? That child you bought Christmas presents for… How do you think that made them feel? That family you prepared a meal for… do you think you made them smile? Do you think they appreciated not having to worry about shopping, cooking, etc. that evening?
How happy was your husband when you bought him that new watch? How happy was your spouse when you washed their car? What about that time you brought home that cool new game for your child?
Let’s talk about the ripple effect,
Now… what do you think happened with each of those situations? Do you think they kept that feeling of happiness and contentment to themselves or do you think they shared it?
Often, when someone does something nice for us, it causes us to want to give that feeling away. Do we only do something nice to the person who did for us, or do we pay it forward and show kindness to others we encounter? Just like a ripple in a pond, I feel with each one act of kindness, there is a multiplying effect further reaching than we could imagine.
What if we were all kind?!?
Close your eyes with me and imagine… well, wait til you are done reading - then close your eyes and imagine.... if we were all kind, every single one of us putting only kindness out into this world. Kindness ripples could stretch anywhere. Affecting anyone and everyone in their path. So I ask you this - what would it look like if your entire household, your entire street, your entire community, showed kindness to everyone… for one day, for one week, for one year, forever?
It's a beautiful vision.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brianna Grace Cooley is military child focused on tackling suicide prevention through mentoring children of all ages to discover their purpose through community service, leadership, and showing kindness. As a leader with Every Warrior Network, Brianna serves as Director of the Lil’ Warriors Kindness Krewe where she mentors children and provides parents and teachers with tools and daily challenges to promote kindness and service. As the Barksdale AFB #GivingTuesdayMilitary ambassador and team lead Brianna lead the effort to send over 7,000 holiday cards to airman at BMT for Christmas 2019 and collected over 1,500 food items for our local backpack ministry for elementary aged students facing food insecurity, ultimately achieving 10,000 acts of kindness. Brianna is an honors student, a cheerleader, and a tennis player. She serves in leadership with Student Council, S2S, FCA, and JROTC at school and is an active member of Team RWB. A huge part of Brianna’s life is developing initiatives to address problems she has discovered in her communities. To date she has created 4 initiatives, earned 5 Presidential Volunteer Service Awards (Gold), was recently recognized as a Top 5 Air Force Military Child of the Year finalist, and has appeared on several podcasts, local televisions segments, and panels.
The power of simple words...
It was seven in the morning and I had laced up my running shoes and pulled my hair back in to a tight ponytail. I had my running app open and ready to go as I grabbed my wireless headphone from the charger and headed out the door on a Saturday morning. I won’t say that I was overly excited about this morning run. In fact, I was kind of dreading it.
You see, just 4 weeks earlier my family tackled another summertime move (number 7 and our 3rd in the 4 years) with the U.S. Air Force. Only this one was considerably different. As we are all well aware of, there is this global pandemic happening at the moment. When you add that and all the Covid-19 precautions to the chaos that already is a military move, you almost certainly have a recipe for feeling all the BIG emotions.
Moving is hard as it is. Leaving relationships behind, the actual moving part, the discovery of all the things that were damaged, lost, or broken during the unpacking process and how to make them fit in to the new house, registering kids for school, learning a new city, state, and then the trying to make new friends part… when you put it all together it doesn’t matter how solid of a human being you may be, at some point you feel isolated.
This year was no different, except that because of a 14-day restriction of movement that we had to complete once we arrived combined with the fact that everyone is staying home, it has been magnified and I have felt more isolated and alone than I have ever before. Finding ways to combat that isolation and loneliness, I won’t lie, it has been really tough. Even more so when I think about the fact that both kids have been home with me, full time, for 5 months now. What I do know is that I always feel better when I move my body.
So, this particular Saturday morning I knew I needed to get out and move for my physical health and to clear my head but.... I was not really motivated to do it.
I started down the driveway and around the first turn and I ran in to a couple out for a morning walk. They smiled and said hello as we passed each other at an acceptable social distance. I kept going, still dreading the next 28 minutes that I had planned to be moving. About a quarter of a mile later I passed a mother and daughter out for their morning walk with their four-legged canine friend and they smiled and gave me a cheery “Good Morning” as we passed each other, to which I replied with an excited “Good Morning to you too!” and we went on our separate ways.
Another half-mile down the road I exchanged a simple smile and a quick runner’s wave to another 30-something mama who had for sure escaped the Saturday morning crazy just like I had to grab some alone time with the pavement. It was about this time that I realized my mentality about this run was changing. Another half mile later and I come upon a mom out walking with her two kids, and I blurt out, in between inhales and exhales, “GOOD (inhale) MORNING!” She cautiously looks at me with that “this lady is crazy” face and then it happened. In a fraction of a second, her facial expression went from “crazy lady” to a grin a mile wide that said, “thanks for seeing me.”
You see, what had happened was that the first 5 people I had passed on my run blessed ME with a positive gratitude. And by the time I got to the mama with her two kids, I wasn’t waiting for someone to say something to me, I was energetically blurting out a “GOOD MORNING.” I was no longer dreading being on that 3 mile run and I was passing on positivity to someone else. Since that run, I have had the family out walking, biking, and scootering many times. One of my kids the other day said, “Mom, I really like that when I wave or say hi to someone here they say it back” (insert my heart melting into a puddle of mush riiiiiiight here).
These small things: a simple wave, a caring smile, a cheery “Hello”, a “Good Morning” are what can be the difference maker in someone’s day. They can completely re-frame your sense of self and belonging. These pleasantries, no matter how small they seem, can revolutionize a person’s attitude or experience and make them feel seen.
Even more simply put: words are kindness in action.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cat Vandament is the 2019 Armed Forces Insurance Scott Air Force Base Spouse of the Year and the 2018 AFI Fairchild Air Force Base Spouse of the Year. She was born and raised in Coppell, Texas where she met her high school best friend and married him after he graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and her from Kansas State University. Cat is a mom of two, a pilot’s wife, a public speaker, and an infertility warrior. As an adoptive mom and former teacher, Cat has taken her passion for teaching outside the classroom, to educate and advocate for families that have journeyed through infertility and are navigating the adoption process. She is taking it all one step further and is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work degree with the University of Central Florida.
To learn more about Cat, follow her on Facebook or Instagram below -- or shoot her an email to say hello!