I had gotten to my classroom early to get some last-minute prep work done before the busy day started. My desk sits next to a window, where students frequently pass by. The building is locked before 8am, keeping my classroom a safe haven until the day begins.
I heard a tap on my window and turned to see a smiling face mouthing, “I have something for you,” and then a series of hand motions I assumed meant, “can you please let me in the door?”
I let the student into the building, and as she followed me into my classroom she said, “I have something for you, but I wanted to give it to you when no one else was around.”
I sat down at my desk, and she timidly handed me a piece of thick paper, face down. Before she released the paper from her grasp, she explained that her sister had recently gotten watercolor supplies, and she had used them to paint me a picture.
I turned the piece of paper over, revealing a poppy.
It warms my heart, to an inexplicable degree, when someone does something that makes it clear to me that they remember Ayden. Little acts of kindness like this overwhelm my heart with gratitude.
I promptly hung the picture behind my desk, on my bulletin board. It now hangs there as a symbol that not only is Ayden remembered, but that there is so much kindness that still exists in the world.
Kindness is everywhere – we just need to take the time to look for it.
Last month’s Picking Poppies episode encouraged everyone to participate in 30 days of kindness – one act of intentional kindness every day for 30 days.
Oh man, I failed miserably. I’m going to hazard a guess that I got in one act of intentional kindness every three days. Turns out writing a sticky note that says, “were you kind today?” and putting it on my computer just means I think, “Dangit. Nope, sure wasn’t,” as I leave work every day.
It might not have been quite that bad, but I definitely missed a few days. But you know what? That’s okay – the point was to focus on intentional kindness, and I did that.
Throughout the 30 days of kindness, I was acutely aware of the kindness that was being shown to me. By focusing on the fact that I needed to be kind, I became utterly aware of the kind things others were doing that had a positive effect on the world around me.
A student painting me a picture of a poppy was clearly something kind that I noticed.
On the first day after posting last month’s episode, I was at the Youth Center and a leader burst in the door with a bouquet of flowers and yelled, “DAY ONE OF KINDNESS!!!” as she gave them to another leader. It was beautiful and fun, and it made me so happy to see others going out of their way to be kind to each other. I can’t wait to hear what happened over the next 29 days.
Someone ding-dong-ditched us and left Rice Krispy treats on our doorstep. This was particularly miraculous, because Nathan and I had literally been talking about how bad we wanted Rice Krispy treats earlier that day. We had even gone to the store to get the ingredients to make them, left the store because the parking lot was SO crazy (it was Super Bowl Sunday), and gone home empty handed. We hadn’t spoken a word about this to ANYONE, and then an hour later they get delivered to our doorstep!
Someone made me cookies.
A student, so very timidly, gave me snacks for kids to eat during our after school tutoring program. He walked in, head down, put the boxes of snacks on my desk and said, “these are for you, for tutoring.” When I asked who they were from, still not even looking up he simply said, “me” and walked out the door before I could even say thank you. It was seriously the SWEETEST thing.
I heard stories of people writing kind notes, having dinner delivered, saying yes when they normally would have said no, buying someone lunch, having coffee delivered, and on and on and on. This was just the tip of the iceberg in the realms of kindness sightings over the last month.
Perhaps it was because I was trying to be intentional about being kind, that sudden my attention was directed towards seeing kindness in others. I truly believe the more you focus on something, the more of it you notice, the more of it you participate in, and the more habitual it becomes.
You will never know the impact you have on someone by simply being kind.
Thank you to everyone who focused on being kind this last month. I would LOVE to have you comment or send me a message anonymously through the Contact Me form, sharing the kind things you did for others, or that others did for you. The world needs more of these stories!
Thank you for Picking Poppies.