by Deborah Steele Hazen
“Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out. It will wear well and will be remembered long after the prism of politeness or the complexion of courtesy has faded away.” – Abraham Lincoln
This week, which also marks Lincoln’s birthday and Valentine’s Day, has been declared “Random Acts of Kindness Week” nationally and in the community of Clatskanie.
Sterling Savings Clatskanie branch manager Monica Hastings brought the idea to the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce and local business, the Kiwanis Club, local churches, the Boy Scouts, Turning Point, etc., and it was embraced enthusiastically.
By the time you’re reading this, we hope you have been the recipient of one or more acts of kindness delivered by individuals, businesses or organizations in our community, and, if you are in the position to perform them – and almost everyone is – we hope you will.
Of course, there are many nice and thoughtful people, who do random acts of kindness without giving it a thought, and without having an expectation of recognition or even a thank you.
Our neighbor shoveled our front steps and sidewalk at least three times during the recent snowstorms without being asked. We didn’t even know it was him until I saw him doing it on Saturday. Thanks, Frank, you’re a great neighbor and a very nice guy. But, then, everyone who knows you knows that.
We suspect that even if they didn’t read about “Random Acts of Kindness Week” in last week’s Chief, there have been numerous acts of kindness performed locally during the winter storm. We are that kind of a community.
Just as Valentine’s Day gives us a prompt to express our love to our dearest and nearest, and President’s Day makes us think about our nation’s continuing need – past, present and future – for great leadership, “Random Acts of Kindness Week” may be helpful in reminding us that small acts, kind words and the willingness to listen can work wonders to raise spirits, heal wounded feelings and dispel loneliness.
Unlike some of our greatest presidents, most of us won’t have the opportunity as individuals to change the world for the better. But, all of us have numerous chances every single day to do something nice, say a kind word, greet each other with a smile, or lend a listening ear.
Here are some more eloquent words on the topic by an interestingly diverse group of people:
“Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people – your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way.” – Barbara Bush
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” – Mother Teresa of Calcutta
“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” – Dalai Lama
“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear, and the blind can read” – Mark Twain
“It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than ‘try to be a little kinder” – Aldous Huxley
“The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love” – William Wordsworth
“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but manifestations of strength and resolution” - Kahlil Gibran
“The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully have been kindness, beauty, and truth” – Albert Einstein
“Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” – Anne Herbert