Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Kindness Game (Teaching Kindness 3)

Sometimes my daughter is, like most any high school kid, focused on herself. Awhile back, I thought it might do her some good to think outside of her own life. So I came up with a game. Each day we would compete to see who could do the most nice things for other people. It could be something as simple as smiling at someone as you pass by, or saying something encouraging. If you did something nice for someone in your family, you got double points (because we often overlook those closest to us). At the end of the day we would compare notes and see who won.

Playing the game was fun. You go through your day a little differently when you are actively seeking opportunities to be kind. I caught myself smiling more, greeting people, listening more attentively, offering to help a little more quickly, finding something nice to say. I wrote out a compliment card for someone who helped me at the store. Mia ate lunch with a student from another country who was often isolated.

One day, Mia called me as she walked home from school and asked me for directions to a certain address. When she got home, she explained that she had seen a young woman looking distressed. Mia crossed the street to ask if she needed help. The young woman was developmentally disabled and had gotten off at the wrong bus stop on her way home. She was disoriented and couldn’t figure out how to get home. After I gave Mia directions over the phone, she walked the young woman all the way home, even though it was quite a bit out of her way. When she told me the story, I readily conceded the game for that day, for the whole week. I could see that Mia felt compassion for this young woman and was pleased to be able to help her. (Because I have two sons with autism, Mia’s brothers, this kindness on Mia’s part was especially meaningful. I would like to believe that someone would do the same for them if they were lost.)

Playing the kindness game helps us develop the habit of kindness. It can also be played as a game of solitaire–try for your personal best!

“Life is short, and we have but little time to gladden the hearts of those who travel this way with us. Oh, be swift to love. Make haste to be kind.”

1 comment:

  1. I love this, especially to hear it about this young girl I know. I just saw a similar idea on 29gifts.org about giving something away for 29 days. Kindness is infectious! Thanks for all your lovely and uplifting posts. You have a real gift for sharing inspiring stories.


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