Kindness is the capacity of an individual to act from a place of genuine concern for oneself and others. Qualities of kindness include empathy, compassion, generosity and consideration. In our home, my children and I discuss the importance of acting kindly with the intention of making a positive difference in our world. We believe that being ‘kind’ is a choice made from the belief that every one of our actions ~ influences others.
On a recent holiday I witnessed this sentiment of ‘kindness’ demonstrated by my daughters and it literally took my breathe away. Away from their learning environment, their home with absence of family faces and friends they offered kindness from pure intention, unprompted by myself.
Our daily routine of meandering the shoreline was habitually followed by a stop at a bustling cafe. The first morning a waiter connected to my children’s unease, as they eyed the queue of busy professionals shuffling side to side impatiently waiting to order their coffees. The waiter instantly calmed them with a loud cheery, ‘Good morning lovely girls. Once we take these orders, I’m going to ask you what you would like. Won’t be long’. His excitement was almost frowned upon as people restlessly shuffled and continued to speak on phones. Too busy for morning chatter! Two patrons were even rude enough to dismiss this waiter’s energy and direct their orders to the co-waitress.
Mark, as he introduced himself, recommended a colossal world of flavours to my girls and they were thrilled. Mark’s speech was slurred and his hand jerked back and forth as he wrote a name on their order. Genuinely transfixed by the joy in Mark’s eyes and his enthusiasm for the store’s products, my daughters didn’t seem to notice any of the waiter’s impediments. Our shakes were soon after hand-delivered to our table, by Mark. The delivery was a little awkward in movement, but again unnoticed. My girls whooped with delight. Mark’s face was alight with such purity, that I fought back tears. I was overwhelmed by a total feeling of oneness.
Everyday we stopped at this cafe. And everyday my girls waited to be served by this special person ~ who not only paid an earnest interest in them and what they were doing, but who remembered what drinks they liked and excitedly told them about what they should try. There was a day when Mark was absent, the girls remarked that their shakes did not taste the same. They lacked ‘connectedness’.
On our final day the girls took extra long with their order. We sat at our table by the window and flicked through photos we’d taken. We laughed. We chatted. We reminisced over our days together. We all savoured the taste of our delicious shakes. Standing to leave we saw Mark sitting at a table enjoying a work break. I stopped by his table to shake his hand in gratitude for the last nine days of excellent service. My youngest daughter then said ‘Thank you for bringing sunshine to our every morning’. My middle daughter said ‘your shakes are the BEST’, and my eldest daughter looked at Mark and said to him ‘I love that you are brave in a world that judges. That you are YOU – I am going to take that back home with me’. Mark stood up and bowed his head and in his broken speech said ‘thank you angels for gracing me with your kindness and love. You have had my days very happy’.
I think of all the learning opportunities we enable our children. The options. The advantages. The education. And then I witness this. This play of kindness. A true sense of authenticity. The demonstration of connecting. Individuals each shining their light. The pure intention of making a difference ~ and it is these moments that are above everything else.
With Love Sarah xx
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