Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

September 16, 2013

TIDBITS: Take the kindness challenge

By Heather Mullinix
Assistant editor

CROSSVILLE — We all have the power to lift someone’s spirits right now, either through granting a favor, offering a compliment or simply smiling and saying “Good morning!”

I’m thankful to say I’ve been the recipient of these little pick-me-ups. I’ve had people tell me how much they enjoy my columns when I’m out and about shopping. I get little notes and emails thanking me for my work.

That’s really nice because, many times, the only feedback your humble newspaper staff gets are complaints about this, that and the other. It’s nice to have people take a moment and tell you they appreciate what you do and that they think you’re pretty good at it, too.

Dorothy Copus Brush, a long-time Chronicle columnist who passed away earlier this year, often sent me little notes along with her weekly columns, that included kind words for me. Bless her, she always had impeccable timing, as though she knew I was feeling low that morning and could use some nice words.

I’ve also got a little collection of notecards, thank you’s and other reminders that, despite what that person on the phone just said, I’m really not dumber than a box or rocks or the worst person to walk the earth. Yes, yes, we get those types of calls here.

But do I put enough kindness out there in the world? My friends tell me I’m kind to them and a good friend, but what about to random people I come into contact with? Am I kind to those I’ve never met?

Am I grouchy? Yes, I can be.

Am I too focused on myself to think about those in my path? Um, yep. That’s happened, too.

Have I even gone beyond simply not being kind to being rude? I have no doubt it’s happened.

Being kind to others is something we should all strive for. Looking at the headlines of recent newspapers, I think we can all agree our world, and our own community, could use a lot more kindness.

Taking the a cue from Michael Jackson, I’m going to start with the woman in the mirror and ask her to change her ways.

That’s why I’m going to take the 21 day kindness challenge, issued by KindSpring, the volunteer-run, virtual organization that seeks to help people practice random acts of kindness, and encourages recipients of random acts to pay it forward.

These random acts can include just about anything you can think of, like playing doorman for strangers for a few minutes; including a nice note in a book; buying treats for your coworkers; thanking a public employee and complimenting their work; adding coins to a parking meter; handing out water on a hot day; or simply giving a parking spot to another car.

Acts of kindness don’t have to break the bank. You won’t go broke offering a helping hand to someone struggling to carry a bunch of bags to their car or holding an umbrella for someone stranded in a rain shower, but you’ll put a little more kindness in the world. It will make you feel better and it will make that person feel better. Perhaps they’ll go out and make someone else’s day better, too.

Start working on the 21-day challenge, and when World Kindness Day rolls around Nov. 13, you’ll have no trouble helping to change the world with kindness.

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Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.