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There’s no question that we feel better when we practise kindness - but so do the recipient and those around, parenting columnist Ian Munro writes.
We hear, daily it seems, about random acts of violence. This week, I witnessed three random acts of kindness, which I wish to report.
The first involved a boy in his mid-teens.
The road was extremely busy in both directions but traffic was brought to a grinding halt as this young fellow signalled that he wished to assist mother duck and her six ducklings across the road. And he did, shepherding them with great care.
I was walking on the opposite side of the road and witnessed not only the family’s safe crossing but also the smiles on the faces of the drivers forced to stop and wait.
Two days later while waiting in a cafe, again after school, a group of young lads were taking their time deciding what they wanted while having on the young woman behind the counter.
An older woman in front of me was getting a little agitated. She turned and made a comment to me about the delay.
One of the group heard her and turned and apologised, told his mates to get on with as it people were waiting and then told the staff member that he would pay for the woman’s afternoon tea, which he duly did. Smiles all round.
Today, I bit off more than I could chew, leaving the supermarket with an armful of bits and pieces having declined a plastic bag.
While I was juggling these items in the rain in an attempt to get my keys out and the car open, the teenager waiting in the car parked next door got out into the rain and helped me with the task.
"No prob," he said to my thanks as he got back into his car. I’d loved to have been able to let his mum know what he’d done.
There’s no question that we feel better when we practise kindness but so do the recipient and those around: the drivers, the lady and fellow cafe customers and me in the rain.
Hopefully, some readers today will also feel a little bit better about the world.
Winston Churchill famously didn’t say, though it’s often attributed to him, that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
The kindness offered by these three teenagers didn’t happen by accident.
They will have been shown kindness themselves and learnt about consideration of the needs of others as part of their upbringing.
I’d like to ask that sometime this week you take the opportunity to commit a random act of kindness to a child near you.
The impact of a small effort on your part could be far greater than you could ever imagine.