Acts of Kindness. Funny how it works but it truly ends up making you feel good about yourself.
As we enter into the holiday season, it’s a good time to remind ourselves of all that we have to be thankful for. Take that feeling of gratitude out into the world and spread some kindness and compassion.
I read a story about a Buddhist Monk who never just gave money or food to the less fortunate. He made sure to really see them as human, to ask them their name and wish them well. This really spoke to me so I made sure to try it the next time I was approached by a homeless person. It took less than a minute but the look on his face made me want to cry. All I did was ask him his name, told him mine and said I hope you have a nice day. So simple for me to do, yet I could see in his face how much he appreciated that simple act of recognizing his humanity. It impacted me as much as it impacted him.
It reminded me of my son, Matt, who after doing volunteer work said, “Wow, when you do something good for other’s it makes you feel good.” That is so true.
Go out and make yourself feel good. Spread some kindness.
If you want to try talking with the homeless, here are a few tips:
- No matter the struggle a person may go through, they are, before, during, and after their homelessness, just another human being on this planet, worthy of interaction. Look them in the eye. Smile. Have a conversation or just a quick “hi, what’s your name?”
- Be respectful if they don’t want to talk or share their story.
- It is a personal decision whether you feel comfortable offering money directly to an individual struggling with homelessness. If you do, don’t tell them how to use it. If this is a concern, check to see if there is a shop or restaurant nearby; you can ask the family if they would like a meal, and then get it for them.
- Familiarize yourself with the homelessness resources in your area so when you are speaking with the family you can direct them to the nearest shelter or soup kitchen. A simple, “How are you doing? There’s a soup kitchen over on 17th Street, and I think they open for dinner around five. You should check it out!” might be a great gift to them in itself. However, if they say they aren’t interested, don’t push them.
- Another easy way to give someone a helping hand is to create some simple “blessing bags” and have them on hand as an alternative to monetary donations. Blessing bags include small items that make the struggle of homelessness a tiny bit easier for the individual, such as socks, packs of peanut butter crackers, lip balm, or travel-size toiletries (toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shampoo, etc.)
– tips from Operation Warm
Next time you see a homeless person remember, they are somebody’s child, lost and alone.
Have you done an act of kindness – or had one done to you – that just stayed with you and truly impacted your spirit? Let me know in the comments below.
As always, I’d appreciate it if you would help me get the word out about the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250 (nominate someone who inspires you) and the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of $250 (submit an act of kindness you would do with $250).