Today I redeemed a free drink at Starbucks. A kind person let me go in front of her. As I sat in line, I ordered my drink ahead of time to make the wait shorter for everyone. Then I remembered I had some cash in my car. So I decided to pay for her order. Her kindness inspired me to be kind back. This is the first time I ever did this (I’m not sure why!). I don’t go to Starbucks often anymore since having a baby and Covid. So, I used my 10 dollars to pay for her order and gave the rest to the baristas for a tip. What really made me excited was how excited the barista seemed to be about me paying for her order. So I hopefully brightened at least two people’s day today. I always hear about people paying for the person behind them but I never actually did it. Man, it made me feel so good!
Let me say I usually donate money to a family in need at Christmastime or donate to a charity I believe in but last year was so rough we were blessed just to have enough for our family. Now that we have a little, I’d love to set aside 10 or 20 dollars a month to pay it forward or buy a homeless person a meal or donate to a cause. Do you ever pay it forward? Do you donate to charities? Do you buy a stranger a meal when they are standing outside of Walmart? What acts of service do you do on a monthly basis?
Since coming off the year 2020, I feel like we need to take it easy on each other. We ALL went through (and are still going through) Covid. Even if our experiences look different. We all need to help pick each other up and dust ourselves off. Forge ahead. Together positive interactions, less judgement and giving each other grace. I’ve been learning a lot about that in the past year; how to give myself and others grace. But I realize I have been a student of that since I was a cashier.
Maybe that grumpy person at the store is having a bad day, or just got some bad or disappointing news, or maybe they are hungry. When we were training to be camp counselors, the mentors who trained us told us something that has stuck with me throughout life: You never know what a child’s home life is like. You don’t know what they have gone through or what they’re coming from. So you have to be the positive role model. Teach them by showing them. Actions speak volumes and modeling positive behaviors is the way to get those in return. I carried this with me at camp, in my job as a teacher and now as a mother.
It is easy to recognize that children have emotions, because young children don’t know how to express those emotions or know how to tell us how they feel. We must remember that we adults having feelings too. Sometimes we are just trying to make it through the day and we don’t have the energy for pleasantries. That being said, there are people who take pleasure in making people feel bad. When those people pop up, what do you do? I do my very best to send them love and give them grace. A simple way to do that is with actions.
An example I have of this is when one of the four children I used to nanny for would get upset or hurtful toward me or one of the other kids. Nine times out of ten, that child just needed extra cuddles, a hug of one on one time. Your instinct is to push away when they behave this way when they really need you to understand that they need you close. The same is true for adults. I mean, we were all children once but we’ve learned to control ourselves and regulate our emotions (well, most of us!). So when you come across the super impatient person in the store, take a minute and breathe. It may just be a super bad day. Be an example for them. Show them that just because they are having a bad day, doesn’t mean the whole world is against them. They might just need that example to turn their day around.
In short, love your neighbor. Treat strangers like you would yourself. Respect others and give them grace. If you can, do something kind for someone. Donate to that cause you love so much. Perpetuate love. Lift each other up. Life is short.