When my publisher asked me to do a “gift-type” book about kindness, I knew I was completely ill-equipped. The title they gave me was, “ACTS OF KINDNESS, 101 Ways To Make The World A Better Place,” but after I had written every kind act I had ever done or seen, I still had about 83 left to write! So I did what all good writers do for inspiration, I went to the experts. When it comes to kindness, I knew I needed to turn to foster parents.
Foster parents take kindness to a nearly unattainable level in that you are able to show loving kindness to children who, in the safety of your care, can finally release their (sometimes explosive) emotions. They often do all they can to test the authenticity of your concern as well as your resolve to stick with them, by doing exactly the opposite of what you would like for them to do. One of the ultimate acts of kindness is continuing to show kindness to someone who can’t or won’t reciprocate. I call foster parents, “Ambassadors of Kindness.”
The act of including a wounded child into your family, thereby growing healthy relationships that heal wounded souls is an act of kindness that raises the bar for the rest of us. You set an example of extreme kindness for everyone within your influence.
Of course, everyone isn’t equipped to be a foster parent, but every one of us can learn to be kind to those within our influence. I’m hoping that the wisdom that you experts shared for “ACTS OF KINDNESS” will teach the rest of us how to improve our lives and the lives of those around us, through seemingly inconsequential kindness.
Give Kindness, And It Comes Back To You
As I tried to power through the completion of this book, I realized that I faced the challenge of “walking my talk.” I had to incorporate these acts of kindness into my own life. I didn’t think I had been an unkind person, but I realized that I had been so goal oriented since emancipating from foster care at age 16, that I had passed right by thousands of people through the years without even noticing that I’d just interacted with another soul. I have always had grand visions of helping large demographics of people, but I had never stopped to consider that it was just as important (perhaps more so) to help one individual. This didn’t come easily to me as an introverted, adult victim of childhood abandonment and abuse. I had been quite satisfied to go through life implementing grand plans while interacting with as few humans as possible! But as I began to incorporate the new tips I’d learned, I began to realize what you already knew—showing kindness to others made me feel better!
I’ve since learned that when you live a life of intentional kindness, you improve the lives of two people—not just the recipient of your kindness, but yours as well. Additionally, you model kindness for everyone within your influence, especially the young ones. Plus, the recipients of your kindness are now better able to pass kindness forward to the people with whom they interact. In this way, one person can launch a chain-effect of kindness that may never end. At no cost whatsoever, and for very little additional time, if any, I now look into the eyes of the bank teller and the grocery clerk and the waitress, call them by name, and authentically care about their answers to the question, “is it a good day?”
I’m thankful to my publisher for choosing me for this project, and I’m grateful to you, the true experts—Ambassadors of Kindness, for living out beautiful lives of loving-kindness as examples to us all. You’ve inspired this former foster kid to launch a “KINDNESS REVOLUTION” in families, workplaces, and communities throughout the United States (I can’t help but have grand visions for good futures for people with whom I’ll never personally interact. Please smile with me.)
Rhonda Sciortino founded and built two successful businesses on the foundation of something a foster parent said to her two decades earlier. Rhonda works hard to pay that kindness forward. www.rhonda.org