Kindness-R-Us

Dear President Trump,

I’m feeling so done with you. I’m sick of you, sick of Giuliani, sick of Barr, sick of Nunes, sick of McConnell, and if Pence ever said anything, I’d bother to be sick of him too. In honor of my fed-up-ness, I only looked at the WP and HP for a combined total of about 12 minutes this morning and then switched over to the Good News Network. There, I perused about 40 headlines and read about 15 stories (they are quite short). It provided a much needed boost and served to remind me that the world really doesn’t revolve around you and that there are lots of people out there who are generous, kind, and compassionate.

One of the stories reported out the results of a survey about kind things strangers have done for the respondents and prosocial things they, themselves have done. Here’s the list and the percentages of people surveyed who’ve done these things in case you (or your threat detector) need ideas:

TOP 10 MOST COMMON GOOD DEEDS…
1. Helped someone with directions — 66%
2. Held the door open for a stranger — 65%
3. Let someone with fewer items go in front of me in line at a store — 60%
4. Helped someone cross the street — 60%
5. Completed a chore/errand for a family member or friend — 56%
6. Gave a dollar or so to charity when checking out while shopping — 56%
7. Donated clothes to a thrift store — 55%
8. Helped someone carry their groceries home — 55%
9. Returned a lost item that I found — 55%
10. Paid for a stranger’s meal — 53%

What I love about the list is how easy most of the things are to do. I must admit that #10 has never occurred to me to do and I’m humbled that over half the people surveyed say they’ve done this at some point. It’s possible the survey only consisted of 20 people, all of whom are kindergarten teachers, but still, it’s a pretty great list and a pretty great sign that maybe we aren’t in as rough shape collectively as it’s seemed these past 1,052 days, 10 hours, and 21 minutes.

The other night I saw a small cardboard sign posted in a median a couple of miles from our house that said “Make America KIND Again.” It’s the only one I’ve seen, which is odd since it was clearly professionally printed (there are hats, tote bags, and posters with the slogan on Etsy and Zazzle), but maybe there’ll be more popping up as we get closer to the election.

I think the TOP 10 GOOD DEEDS list suggests that America is still kind when it comes to many of our day-to-day interactions with one another, but the sign poster does have a point since so much of what gets attention in the media is anything but kind, let alone compassionate, or even respectful. It would also be good to drill down some with the TOP 10 list to find out how many of these good deeds were done across racial and socioeconomic lines since it’s not enough if we are only kind and respectful to people who look like us and who we can relate to easily. The survey source isn’t cited so I can’t check this out (and it would be shocking if those data were collected), but hopefully lots of us are pushing back against the tribalism and xenophobic rot you all are peddling and doing good deeds for whomever and whenever opportunities arise.

May we be safe and emotionally secure.
May we use our security as a springboard for being kind.
May we know that good deeds boost our health and wellbeing.
May we have the courage to accept peace and kindness.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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