Kindness and Appreciation
About a month and a half ago, my son Brooks broke his glasses. This was bound to happen sooner or later. It’s really no surprise that it happened during this pandemic because my boys are home, together, all. day. long… and unfortunately, wrestling is a go-to activity for them. Even though we are constantly reminding them to play nice, be gentle, and for Brooks to PLEASE AT LEAST take off his glasses before they partake in this instinctive activity, it obviously doesn’t always happen. Truth be told, as I sit down today to write this post, Brooks has since broken his glasses a SECOND time… and this time, his glasses couldn’t be fixed; he needed new frames. Sigh!
With this pandemic, though, and during the first glasses mishap, our eye doctor’s office was closed to the public and only saw patients on an emergency basis. I therefore e-mailed them to explain our situation, and after only a few e-mail exchanges, our doctor was on her way to pick up Brooks’ glasses from our doorstep. By the end of that same day, not only had she fixed the glasses, but she has also dropped them back off on our front step. Talk about kindness!
At first, during our e-mail exchanges, I has asked for a time when I could drop off the glasses at the office. When she replied saying that she would swing by our house and to leave them on our front step, my instinct was to tell her that she was too kind, and that I didn’t mind dropping them off one bit. This wasn’t a lie, I would’ve gladly done this, but as I paused before replying, I remembered how incredible I feel when I’m in a position to help others, and when they take me up on that offer. She offered because she was willing to help us out. She offered because she was willing to go above and beyond during this pandemic. She offered because she was a kind and giving person. She offered because just maybe, this was her way to continue offering the services she was so passionate about to the community. And so, I accepted. As a full time working teacher and a mom of four school aged kids, it goes without saying that my days are jam packed, and although I very easily could’ve gotten in my car to drive 2 minutes to drop off the glasses and pick them up after, this true act of kindness saved me time, and filled my heart with so much gratitude.
This made me think of another situation that I often encounter. Every so often, stars align and I’m able to go out for lunch with my dad. It’s often last minute and ends up happening when I send a text along the lines of “Allo papa! I’m in PD near your work today, do you have plans for lunch?” or “The boys have a doctor’s appointment this morning. Would you like to meet us for lunch after?” Although I never assume or expect anything, it is pretty much a guarantee that if we go out for lunch, my dad will pay. It’s not because I don’t offer, it’s because he is sneaky like that. He’s also told me repeatedly that it brings him joy to do this and that “when you’re older and your kids are grown, you will do the same for them”. There was this one time in particular that I was out with him, and my best friend Nycol had joined us, too. When lunch was over, Nycol being the very generous and stubborn person that she is (I get it though, I’m also like that, I’ve just learned to let it go with my dad after all these years) was very adamant about paying her own way and was completely caught off guard when my dad came back to the table after “going to the washroom” but had actually gone to pay the pill. Nycol tried to reason, but the conversation ended with some banter, a lot of laughter, and a very clear message: “Nycol tu dis merci et c’est fini!” (Nycol, it’s done, you just have to say thank you!).
Why am I sharing these stories today? It’s quite simply actually. Have you ever considered how you might be robbing someone of pure joy and kindness by NOT allowing them to do something for you? Or have you ever thought of how irritating you might be when someone shows appreciation and you either downplay it, or worse, say you aren’t worthy? So as important as it is to lead with kindness and appreciation, it’s also important to accept it when it comes our way. I love this quote from Kim Bearden in her book Talk to Me:
“When you model appreciation, you set the standard. You can help individual realize how good it feels not only to be uplifted, but also to uplift others.”
Receiving appreciation isn’t always easy. Receiving kindness and accepting gratitude doesn’t always come naturally, but I urge you to consider the giver’s perspective.
So, the next time someone offers you kindness, accept it and take my dad’s and Kim’s advice.
ps – and that is exactly what we did… the week following the first broken glasses incident, Brooks chose to thank Dr. Kelly by gifting her a donut and a card while we were showing our appreciation to essential workers. And guess what the first thing she said to Brooks when we went back to pick up his glasses from the second break? “Thank you so much for that donut, Brooks! It was delicious!” We have nothing but glowing reviews for Sage Creek Eye Centre and highly recommend them if you’re from around here. 🙂