Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Acts of Kindness

Last Friday, on my bus ride home from work, I witnessed a wonderful moment.

I was feeling abit tired, and grumpy -  it was a busy time with high school students jostling one another to get off, and several of us passengers sort of trudging on the bus. One of the those times when all I wished to do was get home, change, and curl up with my book, and forget the outside world.

Across the aisle from me was an older man dressed in a suit, and cap of the sort war veteran's wear when attending official Legion functions. Across his chest was a row of at least 8 shining medals.
He was a smallish, gentle sort of man possibly in his late 80's.

A young woman, who I believe to be a university student, because we travel to the university on the same bus, mornings suddenly got out of her seat and sat down beside the older man.

She thanked him for his service, and let him know she recognized several of the medals, as her grandpa had had them.

For a moment the man seemed abit surprised, and then he smiled gently, listening to her as she thanked him again, she asked him where he had been stationed during the war, and when.

I saw a far away look in his eyes,  as he remembered, and this I think was such a good moment.

That a young woman should acknowledge his service, and sacrifice in the war which we all know to have been so difficult.

Because he did fight for our freedom, and rights today..

I felt so proud of her, that she spoke up in gratitude.

Today in a post by a man named Tom, who is an early childhood educator, and writes the  blog Teacher Tom, he talks about teaching his children to give compliments, and how the children just embrace this idea, spontaneously complimenting their peers on almost everything, even "I like your t-shirt". This is wonderful I think as the children are learning to reach out and say something encouraging to others. Adults have trouble being quite as free and spontaneous, and I know I've lost opportunities to make someone feel good by saying a positive remark, or word of encouragement, just through being overly reserved.

One of the comments on his post today, quoted Leo Buscaglia, and I think it's appropriate - "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential of turning a life around."

I have been the recipient of of many small acts of kindness in my life, and can attest to the healing power of kind words.

This is a simple, profound way to live better, and it doesn't require much effort, just being open to the moment - and seeing the opportunity to say the good thing.

I'm just so grateful I had this opportunity to witness this one wonderful moment in time.


Teri C said...

Fabulous post Brenda! So many true words. I love Leo also.
My husband is a former Marine and I can't tell you how many many times people have come up and thanked him for his service; most of it is in the last 5-10 years. He was a little taken aback at first but now he loves it. I remember one guy that ran up to him in a hotel and gave him a big hug! Some guys have had him come to the head of line where they were. It's so wonderful to see these acts of kindness. It never ceases to amaze me that these Marines all seem to recognize each other when they just pass by and say, 'Semper fi'. I could go on and on with these stories.
I think the teacher teaching the kids to give positive reinforcement is a fantastic idea. We all need to remember to do it more.
I love this post!!

Geraldine said...

I am always amazed at the selfless service of people in the military. Often their sacrifices (in so many senses of that word) go unnoticed. It's nice that this wasn't the case in this experience Brenda. I'm sure this man appreciated the gesture too. It is encouraging that so many children are aware of these matters and that it is being reinforced in schools and elsewhere. Very good reminders here.

MullenAvenueWorkshop said...

Hi there Teri!
Thanks for dropping in and your comments, really it touches my heart how this gentle, older man was abit surprised, but as well with dignity accepted the gratitude; and as well the fact that this young woman sat down to do the good thing. Sometimes we think later, or wish we'd spoken up, but she did. And really that is what this veteran fought for - her future, and our rights to speak the truth.
Thanks for your encouraging words. I'm glad your husband too finds recognition and kind acts for his service.

Hi Ger!Thanks for your comments! Yes I believe she made a lovely difference, and really it felt like such a true moment.


Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree said...

Wonderful writing! Your descriptions are so detailed that I can picture it in my head as I read! What a great experience and to be able to relate it to Teacher Tom! I agree with everything you say!!! Compliments make a huge difference! Labels create the child/person! They live up to it! (for better or worse)

Thanks for the wonderful comments and compliments! Funny you should mention the bottle cap flowers. We were working on a similar project--but using the bottom of the bottle and making it into a flower! We'll have to compare notes! We used tissue paper or paint! I like the tissue paper! There may be a post on this soon!

Speaking of compliments---I can also count on you to make a comment--my recycle post stood lonely all day and you made a comment! Thank you! You always make my day and just through words! Amazing what words can do!

Melissa I enjoy your work! pictures not needed!

MullenAvenueWorkshop said...

Thanks for your warm comments. :)
I'm glad you enjoyed this post.
I'm so glad to be getting to know you, and thanks for all the helpful ideas and hints you've given me. It's great to share ideas and learn about what others are up to through blogging!
I'll be interested to see your bottle flowers!
Thanks for reminding me about Earth Day - April 22.