Friday, November 13, 2009

World Kindness Day

compassion.jpg compassion image by piveapastor

Did you know that Friday the 13th is World Kindness Day? 

Neither did I, until my friend Ingrid at Fashion is My Muse told me about it, along with an offer to send me her copy of a book I’ve been coveting.  Isn’t that kind?  Yes, it is.  Thank you, Ingrid.

Here are some other kindnesses I’m thinking of today.  

There’s a family in my town whose mother got a brain tumor and died a few years ago.  She was forty, and left behind four children under ten.   Utterly devoted to them, she was a gentle, creative, and smart mother.  I knew her because our daughters went to preschool together.

The family’s father has a substance abuse problem and has been left the sole guardian of the four kids. He has a part-time job and few family resources. 

This woman had many friends.  Today a group of them have taken on responsibilities of caring for the children.  They call themselves the Aunties.  Through an email network and daily check-ins, they figure out what the kids need every week and do all they can to make it happen.  They take care of nitty gritty needs like dental appointments and clothing, as well as simple kind actions like  hosting birthday parties, paying for dance lessons, and taking the little ones to the movies.

The Aunties all have families, jobs, and struggles of their own.  Yet they’ve embraced these children, all the while respecting that the dad, whatever his problems, is still the dad.

Soon, the father will be going to court-ordered treatment for his addiction problems, and the children are being taken in by the Aunties and some extended family. 

This month, I decided to join the Aunties.  I’ve always been a little nervous about getting involved with other people’s lives like this, and I don’t know yet what exactly I’ll contribute.  But geez, with kindness like this looking you in the face, it’s hard to sit on the sidelines and watch.

Yesterday a lady at the fabric store let me go in front of her at the check out because I was late for my daughter’s parent-teacher conference.  I told her about World Kindness Day, and how much I appreciated her small gesture.   

Kindness can be large, like what the Aunties do, or small, like the favor the lady in the store gave me. 

Either way, we all need it.  Don’t we? 





PurestGreen said...

What a touching story. You'll be a great Auntie. Those children need all the support they can get right now.

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

What an inspiring post Sallymandy!
Those could be my children you and the aunties are looking out for . . . such goodness.

You may enjoy checking out my post today on a similar theme - The Charter for Compassion.

Thank you for this kind post!

Kat Mortensen said...

I was kind to my mom today. She's heading to Florida on Sunday to visit friends she and my dad had for many years. It's her first big trip without him. I packed her new suitcase for her - army-style, the way my dad taught me.


angela recada said...

I didn't know anything about this. Thank you!

Your story really touched my heart. You will be a wonderful Auntie! What a wonderful thing you are all doing for these children. Their lives will be so much better because of your compassion.


Gal Friday said...

I had never heard of "Kindnesss Day", but as it turns out, this Friday the 13th was full of good spirits among me and my co-workers all day long and my boss even gave me a gift at the end of the day(some olive oil straight from Italy that he gets as "trade" for services from a customer)! So nice when people are kind.

You are right--often it is easy to wring our hands over an awful situation(those 4 kids in your community)but still not get involved(I am guilty of this, myself), but I am happy to know you are stepping in as an "Auntie".

Rosaria Williams said...

Sallymandy, you captured the essence of the day in this post. Thanks.

Innerspace Yoga said...

That's a great story. Good Luck to all the Aunties!

Woman in a Window said...

That kind of kindness, the large or the small, is enough to bring me to my knees. Every.little.bit.of it. I love it.

Northmoon said...

What a wonderful story of community. I hope the father's treatment 'takes' and he can overcome his addiction.

Cynthia L. H. said...

Beautiful post and beautiful YOU. I am inspired.

sallymandy said...

I've learned a lot about World Kindness through the generous spirits of bloggers like you friends who keep coming back here and being gracious, no matter how sporadic or inconsistent I am. We support each other. Your small kindnesses mean a lot to me. Thank you! xo, Sallymandy

Deborah said...

I am humbled by the selflessness and kindness of the Aunties, including you. They honour their friend in the most important possible way. I am, frankly, in awe of this kind of generosity.

sallymandy said...

Deborah: I'm awed by the Aunties, too. I'm not going to be able to match what some of the others do, and I'm not sure it would be healthy for me to try. Maybe what I meant by my post, but didn't realize at the time I wrote it, is that many people splitting up a huge responsibility can do a lot. None of these women has the entire family's needs on her plate. It's really a village raising these children. So little acts do add up to an awful lot. I'm going to make small contributions where I can.

Tiffany said...

Inspiring and touching. And I have no doubt that you will be a wonderful Auntie too.

Ingrid Mida said...

What a wonderful example of kindness in the aunties. It is truly amazing what a group of women can accomplish. Kudos for you for joining them. If each of us did a small act of kindness every day, think of how wonderful the world would be!

Seeker said...

I didn't know it, dear.
I'm glad you shared with us.
And that's such a touching story.

Hope all is well with you, my dear.
All the best


Nina said...

I agree it sounds like you would be a wonderful Auntie. I have a couple of young "friends" I help out. Same thing, clothes, Birthday and holiday gifts, camping, etc... Kindness can be random or planned, either way it is a manifestation of Compassion and Love! Blessings to you and yours. Love and Light, Nina P

Unknown said...

the kids are so lucky that the Aunties stepped in to help out. how wonderful! I am sure you will enjoy being an Auntie also.

we all need a little kindness in our life everyday....... and to be kind everyday.

ethelmaepotter! said...

I had no idea about this day, but these Aunties have inspired me to show a little more kindness EVERY day, in every way.

Lori ann said...

Dear Sallymandy,
this story broke my heart and made me sigh and smile all at once. Children losing their mother is too hard to take.
I am grateful for the Aunties and you, I knew there was a reason I loved Friday the 13th.

Duchesse said...

I'm grateful you're doing this, and hope you'll tell us how they are, from time to time.

Anonymous said...

It was rather interesting for me to read that article. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.

Anonymous said...

Sallymandy, thank you for letting me know that 13 Nov was World Kindness day, I've just read your blog. Kindness is a subject that I have a real bee in my bonnet about. I believe so strongly that acts of kindness improve the quality of our lives so much - in both small and large ways. Like the two examples you have given. I abhor cruelty and insensitivety. Our world would be so much better if everyone thought about how an act of kindness can improve the lives of others, and strived to be kind. Your post cheered me. Hope I haven't sounded too self righteous. Gwen

Relyn Lawson said...

Do you remember the similar movement several years ago? "Practice random acts of kindness"? Oh, I love that. I still try to do that when I think of it. What I'd really like is to be more mindful of being actively kind. Not just when the opportunity presents itself, but in making the opportunity. Great post. Thank you.