First, don’t get me wrong: I am a huge fan of random acts of kindness. There is something wonderful and affirming about seeing an opportunity to be kind and then acting on it. We all need to do more of it and we all need to be on the receiving end of more of it.
Maybe it’s just me (though in this case, I doubt it), but I’m slow. I don;t always recognize the opportunities until they’ve passed. I say goodbye and walk away and then, twenty minutes later, slap my forehead as I realize what I should have said/done/offered.
There’s not much I can do about those situations, other than try to be more on the ball, but there are things that come up somewhat predictably where I can be prepared to offer kindness. For example, I read about a woman who made little goodie bags with things like some fried fruit, water, chocolate bars, maybe a deck of cards and a pair of mittens, and when she saw a homeless person on a street corner, she would give them one of those bags. That would certainly be easy enough to do. It wouldn’t cost much, and it would solve that whole dilemma about “if I give them money, they’ll just use it for …”
Some other possibilities: I could pick up a couple of $5 gift cards to Target or the grocery store, and keep them in my purse, then give one to a cashier with instructions to use it for someone behind me in line. I could leave my change in a vending machine for someone else to use. I could help my kids paint kindness rocks, and keep some in the car to leave in strategic places.
You see what I mean? I can’t always predict when a moment will arise, but I can certainly prepare myself to share kindness in some fairly predictable circumstances. In other words, instead of simply intending to be kind, I can be intentional about how I’m going to make it happen.
Wish me luck.