How to Be a Cool Breeze in Others’ Days
By: Maralee McKee
Welcome to Monday! I hope your weekend was slow-paced enough for you to get some rest and that today won’t be too “Monday-ish” for you!
After my disastrous Friday of accidently sending out 24 e-mails, instead of one, you all were incredibly kind! I’m forever grateful to each of you!
After I sent my apology letter, you sent letter after letter telling me you weren’t bothered a bit! You encouraged me to relax, and even said you felt bad for me, knowing as soon as you saw them that it must be a mistake and I’d be upset. One reader said she just couldn’t sleep that night and stayed up and read all of them; it gave her something to do.
Please consider yourselves hugged–each of you! You made the decision to focus on the good and to blur out the inconvenience. What great examples you are!
I was so concerned about how the mistake had impacted you, and yet not one person complained and only one person unsubscribed. After I wrote her a personal apology letter, she said, “Oh, please sign me back up. I like you’re blog, I was just overwhelmed thinking I was going to get 20 every day!”
You’re simply the best readers! It’s not bragging to say that, because it’s stating a fact! Thank you for your kindness. In this day and age, kindness goes a long way. Maybe that’s the silver lining in the dreaded front page news of our day.
Our kindnesses stand out more than anything.
Here’s a short example. The other day I was taking one of my two weekly trips to Starbucks. (This is good because I’ve cut back from going every day!) I was in the drive-thru line and just happened to notice the lady in the SUV behind me.
At first I thought she must have bad allergies because she was rubbing her eyes under her sunglasses. Then I noticed her nose was red, and thought, This poor lady is really sick with a bad cold. Then she took off her sunglasses to wipe tears. She wasn’t sick, she was crying… a lot.
When I got to the window, I asked to pay for her coffee and asked the barista to let her know I would be praying for her that day.
The next week at Starbucks, the same man took my order. He said, “Remember that lady you bought the coffee for? She was stunned. She said she had just lost her job earlier that morning and that coffee was a sign that she was going to be provided for. She came back a few days later and paid for the person behind her. She said it was to celebrate that she got a new job!”
Where am I going with all of this?
Your kindness changed my Friday and my future. You kept me on the right track. I was tempted to throw away the blog. My husband, mother, and mother-in-law were cheering me on to do it because it takes me over 20 hours a week to bring it to you, and of course, I’m not paid.
They saw this blog as an opportunity for hard work, worrisome technology glitches, time away from my family and finishing my books, and not relaxing. I don’t blame them; they love me. They want to protect me.
Your kindness expressed in your e-mails stopped me from ending something that I know full well I’m supposed to do with my life, and it even convinced my family that I should keep going forward.
My little act of noticing the tears of the lady behind me encouraged her that the door which closed that morning meant she would be opening a new one in the future.
Our giant good intentions do very little, if anything, in the world.
Your small kindnesses, smiles, encouraging e-mails, everyday actions like buying coffee, holding open a door for someone, smiling at the person who asks, “Do you want fries with that?”, get multiplied to the tenth power. (A math metaphor–there’s something I never thought I’d use!)
Etiquette (kind words and actions put into practice) have the power to change decisions, encourage actions, and strengthen faith. That’s what etiquette, my brand at least, is all about.
This week may you and I continue to gain both 20/20 eyesight to see the voids around us and the urge to act on every opportunity to fill the voids with positive and powerful interactions.
In this day and age, you and I will make our own silver linings. We’ll be the cool breeze and the sweet center of others’ days. We might not change the world, but we’ll positively impact the day of the people in our sphere. Then maybe they’ll tell ten friends, then they’ll tell ten friends….
Let’s intentionally be kind to one another. Compliment someone who really isn’t even doing a good job (waitress, cashier, teller, etc.), wish them a great day, and then step back and watch how your words change that person’s countenance and bring a smile to his or her face. Then see if he or she doesn’t pass it on.
It will be our own personal experiment. Get your kids to help. Have them open the doors for others and say, “Please, let me get this for you!” It’s a fantastic lesson for them to see how their kind words and small actions affect others.
Some people will gush all over us and our children. Sadly, some people won’t say a word of thanks. That’s OK, too. It quickly shows our children how it makes others feel to have their kindnesses not noticed or appreciated. They’ll be much more apt to say, “Thank you!” the next time someone does something nice for them.
Comment here about all you see and do this week. Share past stories, too. Let’s make this page the starting point for a purposeful kindness groundswell. It’s going to be fun to see how many cool breezes and silver linings we bring about!
Can’t wait to read your comments! Let’s make 20 comments our goal! So come on, share your stories with your blog family here!
Oh, and please come back Wednesday for Reader Q&A! We’ll have “Seven Tips for What to Do in Church, Movies, and Other Public Events.” One of the tips is about your backside…really! You’ll love it!
See you in the comments section and then back here on Wednesday for great etiquette tips!
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