“Strangers” : Assignment 4

“I looked at your nice backpack; that tells me you’ve got a mission.”

04A-KofSReading: Read chapters 14 – 16.

Kind Action: This week exercise is to say hello to everyone (friends and strangers) you see. Your job is to not wait for others to acknowledge you — you acknowledge them first. In the process, take note on how doing this makes you feel. Are you nervous, self-conscious? Do you feel warmer, friendlier?

  • Variation — If saying hello feels too intimidating (or if you find you are made uncomfortable by someone’s demeanor), try to simply smile at everyone instead.

Reflection Exercise: Review the following three acts of kindness:

  • Lester (introduced on page 86)
  • Jennifer (introduced on page 90)
  • Doris and family (introduced on page 94)
Rank them in order of most kind to least kind. Reflect on how you arrived at your ranking.

1 Comment

  1. Ah, the joys of aging and trying to remember all the passwords I have used for everything on my computer. I will recap my lengthy first message and try to restate my shorter second message.

    I chose Doris and her family as the most appealing to me ,because they shared their lives and their interests and history with Mike. Naturally his visit with them was longer, but it was so because they offered to have him do other things than just share a meal and stay overnight. Seeing their homes, their family, and how they earned their living as well as hearing the stories of their hardships gave him some real insight into their lives, which had been so different than his. They cared about people in a way that made this story one of the most interesting in the book.

    Lester stopped and gave him a ride and bought food for him, and he was probably entertaining and funny to ride with, but he had a coarseness about him that made him less appealing to me. I almost expected Mike would tell him he had wanted to go to Mount Rushmore which would then result in Lester deciding to go and take him along. That would have been a very generous thing and would have meant that Mike would have also had a very positive impact on Lester, prompting a most unexpected kindness. Unfortunately, we cannot know the impact Mike had on others unless he tells us.

    Finally, Jennifer was as cold and uninvolved as any individual I have ever met or had described to me. She went to experience Mount Rushmore and the Badlands without “experiencing” ANYTHING! She just checks them off her bucket list and goes on with her busy and indistinguished life, without living! Thumbs down from my viewpoint. If you are not interested in other people why would you go out of your way to interact with them, such as giving them a ride! Mystery to me!

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