Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Practicing kindness December 13, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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We each have the power to make a difference through acts of kindness. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


KINDNESS. We all understand the meaning of that noun as niceness, compassion, care and other positive definitions.

But do we take that noun and turn it in to action? Do we practice kindness?

The holiday season offers ample opportunities to extend kindness through donations to charity, volunteering and more.

I thought about that for awhile and considered ways I’ve experienced and offered kindness in recent days. Not in remarkable and expected ways, but in everyday life. Simple actions that exude kindness.

On Saturday, a young boy held the door open for me at my local public library. For my husband, too. I delighted in such good manners, such thoughtfulness from someone so young.

Later, after I left the library, I had the opportunity to practice kindness. I spotted a library card on the sidewalk. Rather than walk by, I picked up the card and took it to the front desk. A man observing that action thanked me as he’d once lost a library card and understood the negative consequences.

While shopping at Target on Sunday, I overheard a woman frantic to find her lost cellphone. I offered to call her phone in hopes the ring would pinpoint its location. She accepted my help. Eventually, she found the phone, which had already been turned in to customer service. A domino of kindness gave this story a happy ending.

Kindness also comes from Faribault’s Paradise Community Theatre. Before striking the set of a recent play, the stage crew allowed several of us to take parts of the backdrop to use for next summer’s Vacation Bible School at our church. Those set sections were otherwise destined for the garbage. This gift will save our set designer and builder a lot of time.

On Saturday, Randy and I delivered fruit baskets to two aging friends as part of the Angel Tree outreach at our church. There’s such joy in giving, in extending and receiving kindness.

How about you? How have you transformed the noun kindness into action? Or tell me about kindness gifted to you.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


26 Responses to “Practicing kindness”

  1. Kiandra Judge Says:

    My husband and I have been working hard to teach our son who is 3 the concept of kindness and charity. Each time he gets a new toy he picks out and old one to give to a “child who doesn’t have any toys”. Using these specific words makes it more real for him, the ideas that some kids don’t have any toys! His Sunday school sponsored a family for the Christmas season and he helped me pick some of his own toys to give to the little boy in the family. He also helped me wrap the gift as well as draw him a picture. It was so awesome to see the effort he made so this little boy would have a gift for Christmas. Empathy, kindness, charity… all good things to practice and teach the next generation.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    It is those little gestures that make a huge difference and it usually costs absolutely nothing to just be nice. Our country needs more nice so I practice it every single chance I get.

  3. I work for the most wonderful man. He has a huge heart. Along with my usual Xmas bonus, he gave each family $$’s to give or pay forward how we see fit to those less fortunate. Amazing!

  4. Almost Iowa Says:

    You know your life is going in the right direction when others are impressed by something that you think is no big deal.

    My mom taught me to give up my seat on the bus to: “Old people, ladies, especially pregnant ones and men who were tired from a long day at work.”

    I remember once when I was taking a crowded bus downtown to the library with a couple of friends, when I gave up my seat to an “old” very pregnant lady. She got all excited and thanked me for my politeness. I didn’t think it was a big deal but then my buddies gave up their seats and created a whole lot of excitement.

    Geez, if that’s all it takes.

    • What a great story, Greg. Thank you for sharing an act of kindness that rippled more kindness.

      What a wonderful mom to teach you that simple act of kindness. I understand the pregnant woman’s response. I felt the same way (and gushed thanks) when the young boy held the library door for me.

      Geez, if that’s all it takes. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

  5. Valerie Says:

    Little acts of kindness do make a big difference – it’s that simple. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Marilyn Donnell Says:

    So interesting that you have raised this topic of kindness. In a recent conversation a friend maintained that kindness should be inherent in every human being – we shouldn’t need to be nudged and prodded to be kind. The reply back to this was, “But even the Lord had Paul remind us to “Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” In mediating on this I conclude that it is a good thing to be reminded to be kind. The Golden Rule in action.

  7. Jackie Says:

    I always taught my boys to open the door for people (especially ladies), and now my daughter has taught her son. I always be sure to tell Carson (and my boys when they were little) “Oh thank you , you’re such a gentleman”, it always got a big smile! Today I spent most of the day with my mom, taking her shopping for Christmas gifts for all her grands and great-grands. She is always so appreciative. The things that seem so trivial to us can mean so much to others. Kindness is ALWAYS a good practice.

  8. —Last week while at the post office, I was told that somebody had already paid for all of my Christmas cards and stamps.

    I almost cried w/ gratitude & wanted to find this stranger to HUG her.

    I shall pass on the love.

    xxx from Duluth.

  9. I am SO EXCITED for the Motorcycle Toy Run on Sunday afternoon. I have found a little kindness can spread – holding a door, sharing a smile, etc. I would rather put my energies toward happiness than the alternative. Thanks so much for sharing – Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  10. Susan Ready Says:

    No better time than now to practice kindness with a world weary of violence and news that drags you down daily. For me the simple words of thank you can mean a lot. I make it a point with every transaction at a store to thank the person and wish them a good day. Some look so weary with their jobs dealing with customers and it is a form of kindness to show your appreciation.. .

  11. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Great post! As you know I donate handmade hats in memory of my loved ones. I’m planning on taking it to a whole new level next year.

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