I just returned from a visit with my parents. I had a wonderful time. I love them so much. And I got to spend some quality time chatting with my dad.
Since it was nearing Christmas, as we sat at the kitchen table my dad was busily writing out his annual Christmas cards to those he wanted to reach out to. But my dad doesn’t do that like many folks do. My dad takes the time to carefully personalize each and every card. He writes a heartfelt note or wish or something that lets the reader know he actually cares. When I was a child my dad wrote a unique poem to me to accompany every gift I received at Christmas (he really did, always amazed me).
For a few of the cards written to those he interacts with on a regular basis, my dad (and mom) not only includes a nice message, but where appropriate include a small amount of thank you cash. They do this for the car valets who take such good care of them when they park their car (they live in Las Vegas where this is common). They do this for their favorite wait staff at their favorite restaurants. They do this for their postman who delivers their mail with care each day. And so on.
What this demonstrated to me was a lesson my father taught me all my life – acknowledge kindness. In this sometimes callous world we live in, it’s important to remember there are some truly great people in it. Some people who provide us with services or products do so with a true dedication to doing it well and with a friendly and caring attitude. In sort, they are kind people.
Of course, it’s important to not only acknowledge kindness from those who provide us services or products, but to anyone in our lives who treat us kindly. There are kind people everywhere. I just happened become acutely aware of it as my dad was thanking certain people.
Not only does acknowledging kindness make the receivers feel good, but it makes the giver feel good. We are biochemically built to react wonderfully when treating others well. Additionally, acknowledging kindness fosters more kindness. When people have good behavior acknowledged, that behavior is reinforced and they are more likely to continue it with other people. Acknowledging kindness begets kindness with a chain reaction that permeates their lives and the lives they touch. How wonderful is that!
So acknowledge the kindness you receive in your life. It will make them feel good. It will make you feel good. And it will foster even more kindness all around.