Ways of Showing Kindness

Alida Cummings, News Editor

In a world full of things to do, perhaps one of the most important is to be kind.

We each picture kindness in different ways: sharing your lunch, giving a smile, or volunteering. Sometimes we feel too busy to do these things, but there is always a way to show kindness, no matter how packed your schedule is.

We all have our excuses. I’ve been there. They don’t want my charity. They’ll think I’m a fake. I don’t have the time to go out of my way for this. I’m in a bad mood. My effort is not enough. I’ve never been through what they’re going through, so my words will mean nothing to them. Those are just a few of the things that run through our heads when we see someone who needs kindness. The reality is that nine times out of ten, those people will appreciate your action, no matter how small, far more than they’ll appreciate your excuses. If you’ve held back in the past, now is the time to fully engage in kindness for your own sake and the sake of others. In fact, Psychology Today states that Japanese researchers have found that kinder people tend to be happier people.

Start with the little things. Try really listening when people talk to you. Try smiling at people and making eye contact. This shows them, above all, that you see them and you want them to smile back. Bingham’s own Mr. Ferlo emphasizes, to all of his students, the importance of a smile. He tells us that you don’t have to stare wide-eyed at everyone who passes you, teeth visible in a huge, frozen smile: that’s creepy. Give a genuine grin and don’t look down at your phone. It’s hard. It feels awkward at first. But, it makes a difference.

Be present in people’s lives. Try offering a ride to someone walking home. When I was a sophomore, it absolutely made my day when a friend or neighbor offered to drive me home–I could get started on homework that much sooner, and I could talk to someone about my day. Showing up in other ways, like watching your friend play on their basketball team or keeping your appointments, shows people that you care. Letting someone know that they matter to you might be the most impactful way to lift their spirits.

Giving meaningful gifts is a great way to show kindness, especially when that gift is a gift of time. Stay after school with a friend to help them with a project or assignment. Write someone a note. Buy someone food when they’re too busy to eat dinner at home. Explain a math concept to a friend. Load the dishwasher for your parents, if you don’t do that already. These gifts give someone at least one good thing in their day to look back on.

Kindness is more than just doing things. It’s an attitude of sincerely wanting to make other people’s lives better and putting those you care about before yourself. Try showing kindness to those you don’t care about, too. Everyone needs a little kindness.

Regardless of how you show it, don’t be afraid to be kind, even if you’re the only one who is. Showing kindness doesn’t have to be as hard as we often make it.