A couple of days ago I was in a public restroom in a bathroom. All over the bathroom, especially around the waste paper basket, were used paper towels, likely thrown toward the trash receptacle but didn’t make it in or carelessly thrown on the floor after someone washed his hands. I found myself thinking first about my mother, who as a participant in one of these kindness classes years ago told the others that one of her kind practices is to pick up the strewn paper towels in public restrooms as a way to tidy the bathroom for the next person who comes. Thinking about that, my attention turned to our class and the subject of simple, kind acts.
In short, I proceeded to tidy up the bathroom.
In many ways this is a small thing. No one saw me and it didn’t take much effort. It was spontaneous, too. But I also like to think it wasn’t so small. Perhaps the next person in that public restroom felt just a tiny bit better having a clean bathroom to use. Thinking this way, I go on to think that that ripple extends further, that the next person in the bathroom had his mood improved, which caused him to be nicer than he otherwise might have been to someone else. Then that person had her mood improved, and then so on and so on and so on.
That’s how powerful I think we are, and it can start with the simplest of acts.
That’s how I see our story. One thing that greatly attracts me to Eve and Tommy is how simple their lives are, how simple are their interactions. But in that simplicity is great kindness. And in their cases, kindness is so natural that calling it anything seems to betray it in some way. It just is.
With that in mind, I encourage all of you to read the comments section on the blog. Linda and Megan had a very lovely exchange in response to the first assignment. Study what they said and how they said it. How different would the world be if we always talked to everyone this way?
This is very powerful Andy. And I agree so wholeheartedly – the simplest actions (even those that go unrecognised) can have such a wonderful ripple effect.
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