It was a cold, gray day about 10 years ago.
The wind was blowing as I walked out of the grocery store with a full cart, trying to juggle my just turned 2 year old and my 8 month old baby amidst all of the plastic bags filled with food.
I was squeezing the trip in after a long day at work while my hubby traveled from the college where he was taking classes to his full time job.
“Overwhelmed” would have been a major understatement at the time. I felt lost on the details of mothering.
And the stress of working a busy teaching job while raising these boys so close in age, nearly on my own (while hubby was finishing his degree) was wearing on me.
Each time I went into public, I would imagine everyone around me shooting judgmental stares my way. (As if I had time to lift my eyes off of what I was doing to see them.)
On that particular day, as I heaved a heavy sigh and pushed my load towards our car, a woman walked past me. I braced myself for the inevitable comment about having two boys so close in age.
She didn’t stop walking. She didn’t even make eye contact with me.
But I’ll still never forget her.
As she passed me, she casually said, “It gets better.”
That was it. But it meant the world to me.
It was exactly what I needed to hear in that frustrating moment.
Acts of Kindness in Small Words
It seems so simplistic. So easy, that it was almost like a waste of time.
Why bother to speak words of encouragement to a perfect stranger?
This is why.
When we see a fellow Mom struggling, let’s not waste energy judging her. Or even silently cheering her on.
Let’s offer her just a small bit of encouragement. You never know when your casual words spoken in passing can mean the world to someone else.
Are Words Better Than Money?
How awesome is it when the person in front of you at the drive thru pays for your order?
Of course it’s a great feeling!
And it makes you want to pass it on to someone else.
In fact, you might end up paying for the person behind you.
But in the end…did anyone really touch anyone else?
There’s something to be said about doing kind acts anonymously. Giving money to someone who will never know it came from you.
That certainly has a place in this hard world.
In a world full of “stuff,” people are hungry for simplicity.
We’re hungry for real connection with each other.
It makes sense that small words of kindness can make such a difference.
What Is Kindness?
You may have heard the quote “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”
Replace the word “humility” with the word “kindness” and there’s a phrase you can live by!
Our lives are so busy, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in the chaos of your day.
But taking just one moment to notice the people around you can change their whole day.
What words could you speak to someone today that will make the most impact?
“I love your…(dress, tie, hair).”
“Hang in there!”
Other Ways to Show Kindness
There are a million ways to show acts of kindness! Here are a few more ideas that don’t cost a dime.
- Forgive someone who’s done you wrong, even if they don’t ask for forgiveness.
- Do a job that someone else would otherwise have to do (unload the dishwasher, sharpen pencils, pick up litter).
- Speak kindly to someone who could use a pick me up.
- Give a hug or a smile.
- Hold back the mean response that you wanted to say.
- Make an actual phone call.
Think of some words of kindness you can share with a stranger today.
That kind woman in the parking lot at the grocery store had no idea that her simple words of kindness would be remembered more than a decade later.
Just imagine what kind of impact you can make.
(Be sure to check out my free printable scavenger hunt to encourage acts of kindness in kids.)
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Such a good read! I can’t tell you how many times just making eye contact and smiling can help. We get so caught up in being in our insulated little bubbles that we sometimes forget to acknowledge people around us. I try to make an effort to smile and speak to random people I come into contact with in the parking lot or grocery. Like you said, you just never know how a few kind words can make a huge difference in a persons day/life. Beautiful post Jamie! ~Wren
Thank you so much!
I’m with you there! That’s the way I try to show kindness to people, with eye contact and a reassuring smile, especially when I see a mom is struggling. Just recently I saw a mom trying to breastfeed her infant at the zoo, and you could tell she looked flustered and unsure of herself. I gave her a kind look and smiled at her and it was almost instant the relief she felt.
Thank you so much for sharing this with us at the Friday Funday blog hop Jamie!
Thank you for this, Jamie. I feel like today I needed the pick-me-up. Not only did you provide that, you reminded me that oftentimes, even (and especially!) when I am feeling overwhelmed, I can do something for someone else by simply being supportive. And I think that builds us all up, as a community of moms.
Lovely, inspiring post! Today I’ll try to find ways to be kinder, even if I don’t see anyone except my family today (quite likely!) I can still find ways to surprise them with kindness. Sometimes when I’m out and about, I’m honestly just so busy inside my own head that I barely notice the people around me, but I like the idea of challenging myself to be more aware and alert to people who could use some kindness.
I love this. It’s incredible how few words can change your day (life even) for the better.
Thank God for that!
Such insightful points, Jamie. The word I’m focusing on for the year is kindness, so this post is right up my alley. Kindness is a powerful thing and, as you say, something that comes at no cost. That stranger that offered you those 3 words in a time of struggle is a great reminder of that. She didn’t have to do it, nor did she lose anything from saying it, but the fact that she had enough empathy to give you words of comfort means a lot. You’re right: why can’t we be kinder to each other, or ourselves for that matter?
Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful piece with us on #SHINEbloghop this week!
I was happy to find your hop this week, so thanks for hosting! I used to think that acts of kindness had to be big or cost a lot of money, but when I started to consider what acts have meant the most to me, I realized that it’s much simpler than we tend to think.
You are so right! Little acts of kindness go so far, and they really don’t have to take that much time or even effort. It merely means stepping out of our bubble to see where God can use us! Your story reminds me of when my boys were little. Yikes! On one hand I miss those days terribly, but on the other … whew! Ha!
Blessings and smiles,
Well said! Thanks for visiting.
So true – I remember being that young mom & now I watch my own daughter as a young mom and if there is ever a season where one needs encouragement, it’s then. Thankful for the stranger who offered that word of encouragement to you.
So true! New moms need a ton of encouragement and support.
Aww such a sweet read, I especially liked“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” That is the best way to put it! Found you on the home matters linky party and I’m glad I stopped by.
Thank you for reading! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I try to remind myself of that quote often.
Small acts of kindness go such a long way, yet it’s so easy to get caught up in every day life that we forget to be kind. This week I let someone go in front of me in the checkout cue as the had fewer items than me – it felt good to be kind and she was really grateful – double win! 🙂
That’s another great one that doesn’t cost a dime!
I like the idea of random acts of kindness but why do they have to be random? What a different world this would be if everyone was kind all the time – I know that’s unrealistic. I live in a large city that’s growing larger and it’s obvious to me that people are growing less kind – blowing car horns if you don’t start driving the second the light turns green, etc. I try to be kind to others as much as possible because as you’ve said so well, you never know what the other person is going through or dealing with on a particular day. I really appreciate people who are kind to me – they can actually make my day! Blessings, Janet
Jamie, you got this right! A little kindness goes a long way, and it’s the best when it comes when you need it the most. I love the story of you being overwhelmed and the stranger, almost in an off handed way, giving you a comment that could change the way you felt. To reframe your perspective. It’s a gift, isn’t it? And if she knew how much she impacted you she would do it more often! It’s reminding me to reach out, inspire and help others more!
This is a wonderful post and I’m so happy you shared it with us at Snickerdoodle Sunday. When things get horribly hectic for me, one of the things that makes me feel better, it to take a few minutes and hold a door, smile and say hello or let someone get in line before me in the grocery store. Doing these simple things usually reward me with a thankful smile and the world rights itself once again.
I love this! What a wonderful reminder! You always remember those people and keep them in your heart! It’s such a huge help when someone gives you kindness. Good job!
Thanks so much!
Oh how I have been there! I try to make encouraging comments to parents all the time. Because in those hectic moments it helps pull you through.
Great Post! Thanks for sharing with us at Welcome Home Wednesdays!
I’m sure you’ve made a difference to more people than you know!
A wonderful reminder! A few encouraging words take such little time of ours to say, but can make all the difference for the person receiving them. It may be what they really needed to hear…and you never know…you may be the only one they have who will say it to them.
I love this post and agree totally that we need to show more kindness. As a mum of a special needs child I find that it is those tiny acts of kindness that make the difference to us that make us feel accepted! Thank you for saying this!
I do the same exact thing. It’s so hard to worry about what people are going to think of you. Thank you for linking this up at Family Joy Blog Link Up Party. Such great thoughts.
Such simple steps & actions can really make our day! Thanks for sharing your thoughts… 🙂 #TurnItUpTuesdays
What a lovely post. It’s true, you never know what your words or actions mean to someone else. It’s so easy to be kind. I had 3 kids from 14 to 20 months apart and I know what you mean about getting looks at the grocery store!
Great post! I think more of us need to think of ways to life up others on a regular basis. There’s too much negativity these days.
Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop.
I love this story! Amazing how such a small moment of connection can be so meaningful… and so easily passed on! 🙂
Thank you for sharing this encouragement at #FridayFrivolity!
pinning and tweeting!
I find that it’s such a good thing to encourage younger mothers when I’m out. I think it would have been encouraging to me when I was a new mom. It’s amazing what kind words can do for someone who’s feeling down. Thank you for sharing your post at the Over the Moon Link Party. See you at OTM #11!
It is so true! A little goes a long way when it comes to making connections with other human beings. [Maybe that’s why I blog :)] I remember one sweltering day I stopped at a light and a man was asking for change or water. I was pulled up within two feet of him. My minivan is always disgusting and I noticed a water bottle (we usually just refill our own). This water bottle had been opened and I guessed it was from a work event of my husband’s. I rolled down my window, and embarrassingly admitted I wish I could give him water, but the only one I had was tainted by someone in our family. He grinned a huge grin and said, “If God provides it, I’m sure He’ll bless it. I’m not afraid of germs from something God provides for me.” Humbled. Anyway, I know the water is a thing, but the connection mattered at least as much as the water. That man and I smiled together, laughed together, and I learned a lesson from him. My children watched and, I’m certain, their empathy increased as a result. My son later asked if we could buy a case of water to keep in our van because he was concerned we could run into a person needing water and we wouldn’t have any to share.
Anyway, thank you for sharing this post. It’s easy to live with tunnel vision and forget to encourage and connect with others.