Friday, April 5, 2013

Dear Kindness


Dear Kindness,

You are like a little sachet of glitter we carry inside our hearts.  Sometimes we sprinkle it on people we care about.  Sometimes we find glitter all over ourselves and smile bigger because of it.  We never run out of it, because if we dig deep enough inside our hearts, you can always be found.

When we are the recipient of such glitter, what we feel is a warmth we call Joy.  It can be exuberant, fierce, euphoric, simple, or quiet Joy.  Most of the time, the Joy I find is from within my home--well, I do spend most of my time as a SAHM.  Dear Daughter might give me a hug I wasn't expecting, Dear Son might voluntarily do a chore, and Dear Husband might notice and compliment my hair pulled back in a ponytail (not often, but it can happen).  But recently, I experienced such Joy from people outside of my own family that truly touched me so.  And when I say I experienced, I mean I was showered with glitter. 

Starburst pomelo
Last weekend, just as we were about to leave the house, I heard the doorbell.  It turns out to be a package delivery for me.  Totally unexpected.  It was from a dear friend from college (whom I haven't seen since).  She and I got reconnected on Facebook and have been in touch for many years.  Two Novembers ago, I had been re-introduced to the fruit called pomelo (Chinese grapefruit) by DD's Chinese School teacher.  I hadn't eaten this fruit since I was a little girl back in Taiwan.  I found it at Costco and just loved it.  I posted a picture of the fruit after it was peeled to show how much it looked like a brain with all its white fibers, but how unexpectedly beautiful and tasty its pink flesh was.  My friend then asked if I've ever had any sumo oranges since we were talking citrus, but I didn't think I had ever even seen it around here.

More than a whole year passes and I received a large box of sumo oranges from my college friend (they are seasonal and often backordered).  Seeing her name and her note on the box made me feel entirely Joyful.  She just rained glitter all over me.  She loves sumo oranges and wanted to share its exquisite taste with me.  With me--over halfway across the country.  My heart was bursting with gratitude.  I collected the glitter she tossed my way and carefully put it in the sachet in my heart, for they will come to good use at a later time.  And if you've never had sumo oranges and can get your hands on some, do it.  They are delectably sweet, silky, and meaty (largest of the mandarin citrus).  They have a signature bump (topknot) on them, and are extremely easy to peel.  We have all been enjoying the fruit over the last week.  Every time I peel one, I wonder what I have done to deserve such Goodness.  (She's the same friend that sent me coffee not too long ago, and I've sent her nothing but mass-produced holiday cards--*hangs head in shame*).  Thank you so much, my dear friend, for bringing sweetness to my doorstep, my taste buds, and my grateful heart.



Next, there's nothing quite like dancing in the glitter of Words from Children.  And by children I mean the ones I teach.  We've always heard that saying, "Be the person you want your children to be."  I strive to be a kind person so that my kiddos will store extra glitter in their sachets to sprinkle, too.  But when glitter is tossed my way from children I have never met, it makes my heart swell even more with Joy and Amazement.

One day I substituted for a fifth grade class.  As the students came into the room all at different paces, a girl came and greeted me: "Hello, my name is Ingrid*.  What is your name?"  I introduced myself, and then she proceeded to say, "I want to welcome you to our classroom.  I hope you have a really nice day today in here."  I was so pleasantly surprised, because that was just the nicest thing a student can say to a substitute teacher in a classroom she had never been in before!  Yesterday, as a sixth grade class was shuffling out the door, one student turned around before leaving and said to me, "Thank you, and have a nice day!"  Kids have busy lives--changing classrooms in the hallways, engaging in their work in school, and processing all kinds of information inside their heads.  That they stop for a moment during that chaos and say those simple words to me or other teachers is what makes this world a kinder place.  These simple words can bring smiles to people's faces, make the ambiance of an entire school, and become the seed that grows into "I had a really great day today."  These children are full of heart, and their glitter is magically contagious.  Thank you, children, for spreading kindness in your schools and in your lives. 



Lastly, my blogger friend, Lisa, at Expandng, wrote a post just for me.  For me--because I asked.  Lisa makes these beautiful visual boards on her blog as do other bloggers I follow.  I never knew how to do that, so I had asked if she would share how to make them.  Lisa wrote a whole tutorial on how she creates visual boards with step-by-step details here.  You see, I know how long and how much effort it takes to write a post, and I usually don't even get "technical" (I've done the Happy Dance for just inserting a slide show and an audio file--woot woot!).  She freely and willingly tossed her glitter my way, as well as the ways of all her readers, and we are grateful.  Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your Tech Savvy and your time; I can't wait to create my first visual board! 

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
All of this reminds me of a book that I have been recommending to my friends on Facebook: Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud.  It is a wonderful picture book to express the meaning of kindness and compassion to children--and adults alike.  If you've read this book, you'd know what a wonderful message it espouses; if you haven't read the book, check it out at your library or bookstore.  It's definitely worth the trip. 

So, Dear Kindness, whether you are in the form of filling someone's bucket or raining glitter down on a friend, you are a source of Love.  Be it as small as uttering "thank you" to something more substantial such as a generous donation, you elicit feelings of delight, gratitude, goodwill, and hope.  And we sure can all do with a little more of those things in our lives!  So even on a bad day when I feel like I have no more glitter to toss, I will tell myself to just dig deep.  Because I'll always remember the feeling of twirling in the glitter someone else showered me. 

Sincerely,
Me

(*name changed for privacy.)

14 comments:

  1. True, kindness is a gift. One day, a long time ago, I was walking to the bus stop to go to work. It was yet another humdrum day until I met a young mother carrying her toddler daughter in her arms. The little girl smiled at me, a big guileless smile. She would never know how much she brightened my day and helped me through it. I cannot forget that moment that's why I still write about it to this day.

    P.s. I love pomelo too. We had a variety called Davao Pomelo and I hold it as the best. I am not an orange eater, but your sumo orange seems tasty and easy enough to peel. What a thoughtful friend you have. :-0

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    1. Hi, Imelda! Children have such a way with their facial expressions, and their smiles are so, so inviting! I can imagine how vivid that long-ago memory still affects, and if only she knows that now...

      Is the Davao pomelo from the Philippines? I don't see them much here, and I've only encountered the Starburst pomelo here. They are delicious! Thank you for coming by; I always appreciate your visits!

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  2. This post showered my heart in glitter. I love little acts of kindness from the most unexpected places.

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    1. Thanks, Cindy! I gotta agree: the unexpected ones are the best! I'm sure you danced in your K's words (when you had that convo about beautiful people)! :)

      Sorry about the comment moderation--I'm getting viciously attacked by spam these days, and was trying ways to best deal with them. It turns out that there's not much I can do about them. So I'll continue to just "whack the moles." If you keep getting email notification of comments from spam, just unsubscribe from the comment thread. Sorry!

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  3. I love the idea of kindness being like glitter (well, as long as I don't have to sweep it up :)) What a nice package to get - I've never heard of sumo oranges, but they look great!

    I was pleasantly surprised about the kindness from the kids in the classes you subbed for. I'm ashamed when I think back at how the hoodlums, I mean kids, treated subs back in my days in school. (I was the quiet nerd in the back of the room observing it all but powerless to do anything about it. It never occurred to me...til your post...that I could've made a difference by stopping to thank the teacher rather than slink out of the room embarrassed that I was associated in any way with those other kids.)

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    1. Haha, Janna, you have the same reaction to glitter as I do! I used to detest glitter in kids' artwork because of the mess it makes. But I've gotten better and less OCD about it over the years; kids wear you down that way. But I can write about glitter all I want, right? ;)

      Again, like you, I don't think I ever thanked my substitute teachers, either. I was the shy one watching all the naughty kids prank the sub and I didn't know what to do? Some kids these days are great and vocal and expressive. I wish I had been more like that, too!

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  4. So thoughtful when friends send you gifts out of the blue! It doesn't happen to me that often, so I know the feeling when it does. Truly special!!

    While in Taiwan, I ate so much pomelo I thought my mouth was going numb ;). Random fact.

    How sweet of a fifth grader to welcome you to her class! Aw, what a day! I can feel the joy!


    And thank YOU for sharing my post and giving me such a wonderful THANK YOU on your blog! Hope to see your first visual board soon!!!

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    1. Hi, Lisa, haha about pomelo--I guess one can OD on anything, right? It's kind of awesome to see the differences in primary grade kids to upper elementary grades and into middle school. They are so different in many ways, but kindness shines through just the same.

      I do want to make that visual board, even if I'm not very techy. I gotta get through the first step of just downloading the software first. Will get onto it. Thanks again! (So it's okay to take brand's pics as long as you give credit to their products, right?)

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    2. About using brand pics, technically, unless their site says you can use their product photos for non-commercial use, then technically, no, we shouldn't do that. That said, everybody does it, and it's not like we're using them for commercial purposes, and we link to the product page, so, I think we're not breaking any laws. I've only seen a few blog/shops that say "do not use our photos unless permission is granted". I like to put on my site that photos can be used for non commercial purposes but must be linked-back to me.

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    3. Thanks, Lisa! Maybe I'll start by using my own pics just to get comfy first. :) When people use brand pics, they're really sort of doing free advertising anyway, right? So long as credit is given...

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  5. Today, my daughter complimented me on my headband. Totally made my day! :) It's the little things.

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    1. Hi, Asianmommy, it's ever so special when kindness comes from your own children in ways you don't expect, isn't it? That's so sweet of your daughter! It IS the little things in life. :)

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  6. I also believe that when you put kindness out into the Universe, the Universe will repay you when you least expect it. Sounds like you've been on the giving side enough times that the Universe is finally making your world sparkle!

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    1. Aww, your comment really made me smile, Nilsa! I have similar beliefs, too. We can all do with more good Karma in this world, whether in the practice of giving or receiving. Thanks so much for your kind words!

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