By Valerie Armer, Secretary, VILLAGE in the Village
“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who
you are.” – Harold S. Kushner
What does it mean to be kind?
For a new mother, it might mean an offer to watch the baby so she can take a shower.
For a busy mom with kids in tow, it might mean letting her in front of you in the grocery store
For the widower next door, it might mean an invitation to join your family at an Isotopes
For a shut-in, it might mean an offer to join you at home for a movie night, including
transportation and popcorn.
Kindness can be defined as the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. It’s an
interpersonal skill that we can improve on by prioritizing acts of goodwill. Darwin considered the
“sympathy instinct” as one of the strongest human instincts which helped our species survive
Yes, we are all busy, and acts of kindness may take some of our time. So why be kind?
First, kindness has a ripple effect and can increase benevolence. A sense of community is
created when people are kind to those who need help. When someone lacks a relational or
chosen family, society can fill that need.
Second, research shows that generous acts can benefit your health. When you perform a kind
act, doesn’t the recipient’s reaction put a smile on your face, as well as theirs? Doing good
deeds causes the production of oxytocin, a mood elevator.
Finally, the butterfly effect of kindness shows how a single act can have dramatic
consequences. Someone who receives kindness is likely to pass that kindness on. Kindness
creates a sense of satisfaction, and connecting to others through kind deeds gives us a feeling
of relatedness and belonging.
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the
roots spring up and make new trees.” – Amelia Earhart
So where can you start? There are countless way, but since the mission of VILLAGE in the Village is to help Corrales seniors remain safely in their own homes for as long as they desire and to keep them connected to the community, I’ll focus on that.
Give an elder an opportunity to reminisce and re-create special moments in their life. Ask them
for advice on a personal decision. Or ask them to share their thoughts about today’s world.
Show respect for their hard-earned experience and knowledge.
Send relatives or friends a card to let them know you’re thinking of them. It’s rare to receive a
greeting by “snail mail” these days and can really brighten the day!
Deliver home-cooked or baked items to someone. Who doesn’t love homemade soup?
Offer to change smoke detector batteries or light bulbs for them.
Give someone a hand getting items off a high or very low shelf at the grocery or hardware store.
Do crafts or cook together.
You can no doubt think of dozens of other ways to show kindness. Go ahead, try a little
kindness! Shine your light on the world.
For information on joining ViV, call (505) 274-6206, or visit our website at VILLAGEintheVillage.org.