A Small Act of Kindness

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of corn chips and a six pack of root beer and he started his journey. When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry, so he offered her some chips. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word. As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave, but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old woman, and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever. When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?” He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? She's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!” Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, “Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?” She replied, “I ate corn chips in the park with God.” However, before her son responded, she added,” You know, he's much younger than I expected.”

As fathers, one of the greatest principles we can teach our children is the value of kindness.

Five Ways to Cultivate Kindness

1. Touch.

Teach your children the power of touch. A hug, a pat on the back, butterfly kisses, a high-five and even a kiss on the check can have an amazing effect upon others. Touch (in all of it forms) can encourage, support, motivate, uplift and can even bring healing to others.

2. A smile.

Proverbs 15:30, “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” Proverbs 15:13, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Encourage your children to smile at others. A well placed smile can instantly lighten up a room, promote laughter, brighten a mood, and can soften the hardest of hearts.

3. A kind word.

Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” As fathers, we must teach our children to be kind with their words. Kind words are things like an honest compliment, praise, humor, flattery, and positive affirmation can have an amazing impact on others: “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up” (Proverbs 12:25).

4. A listening ear.

James 1:19, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

5. The smallest act of caring.

Ps. 11:16-17, “A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth. A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.”

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or lifetime. Have lunch with God…bring chips.

Greg Smalley, PsyD
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Dr. Smalley previously served as the director of Marriage Ministries for The Center for Healthy Relationships. He is the author or co-author of twelve books concerning marriages and families, and currently serves as the executive director of Marriage and Family Formation at Focus on the Family.

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