Tag Archives: empathy

Advent Random Acts of Kindness

As well as the Reverse Advent Calendar, we are also doing a random act of kindness a day throughout December.

I hadn’t really thought much about what we will do each day so yesterday the RAKs just happened themselves (which is really how it should be, if kindness is the path you choose to take in life – and it is a choice you can make, and a choice many don’t).

Yesterday we had a disagregated training day and so it allowed me to help out at my son’s school Christmas fayre in the afternoon, whilst my husband took him and his best friend around the stalls. When my son came running along to me on the cake and sweet stall with all his winnings from the tombola, teddy bear raffle and his homemade Christmas decorations, he chose a cupcake for himself and also chose a little Freddo chocolate for his sister who was still at her nursery. He also offered his marshmallow Santa’s Rolo hat to me as well as saying that a massive bar of Galaxy he won on the tombola was for mummy, daddy and his sister to share. Okay, so he has a milk allergy and can’t eat them himself, but as a five year old he could have kicked off and got upset that he couldn’t have what he won. Instead, he didn’t bat an eyelid at winning something so awesome for his family to enjoy (and it’s Galaxy chocolate so I totally will – post detox completion of course!).

Later, I went to pick up our daughter from nursery. On the way home she likes to tell me about her day (which is novel because her brother never has). She told me how her friend at nursery had said to another girl “I don’t like you”. She told me how, in response to this, she had said to the other girl,

“Don’t worry, xxxxxx, because I LOVE you”

and later, to the girl who wasn’t being kind,

“That wasn’t a very kind thing to say to xxxxxx”.

I’m really pleased that, at three, my daughter is not only trying to make sad people better but she’s also standing up for kindness and isn’t afraid to stand up and say if something isn’t right.

I am aware that she’s only 3 and this story may or may not be entirely as it seems, and there are, of course, many times where she is most definitely a typical ego-centric preschooler (in fact, she told me I wasn’t her best friend any more the other day because I wanted her to settle down for bed!). But, I can see her mind working and her empathy growing, showing us little hints into her growing-up personality, which is more selfless.

So those were the children’s 1st of December Random Acts of Kindness. Let’s see what the rest of December will bring!

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Falling

“I fell. My chair wasn’t positioned correctly and one leg went off the patio into the grass. I’m stuck on the floor still in my chair, I don’t know how to move to get up. Many years ago I’d have jumped up quickly hoping no one had noticed. I might even have laughed about it with my friends and they’d have cracked jokes about how clumsy I was. Today isn’t like that. Today I’m stuck where I am and I can’t move. The girl I’m with isn’t strong enough to help me alone; she makes sure I’m not hurt while looking around and thinking about what to do. 

A woman sees me and heads over, her children strapped in a pushchair are content with ice cream and sleep. She is a similar build to my companion but together they can probably help me. They move the chair from under me and each place a hand under my arms to help me to my feet. I’m unsteady and nervous. What if I fall again? I daren’t hold on to the chair or table. Slowly they guide me to a chair and reassure me that I can sit. I imagine I feel heavy in their arms. Years ago I could have picked them both up at the same time. I wonder if they can see how I used to be strong. I’m trembling but I start to calm down as I feel the chair beneath me. Finally, I’m sitting again and my coffee arrives.  The lady asks if I’m ok then walks back to her children. I breathe a long sigh.”

Sometimes I like to pretend I’m someone else and wonder about how they think. Usually I do this because I’m a worrier and I hate to think I might have upset somebody or have done something they’ve not liked. Occasionally, I imagine I’m the person I’ve just passed in the street – sometimes I imagine their whole life. Today, after I helped an elderly gentleman up into a chair I imagined I was him & wondered what he would have thought of the situation he found himself in. 

I do that a lot when I think of her too. What would she make of this & that? How would she respond when I tell her X or Y? I guess that’s fairly common when we think of the dead but perhaps we should do it more with the living too.  It certainly helps to gain a new perspective.