Friday, January 20, 2017


12/14/16 Chatterbox
Betty Kaiser

A plaque over my desk reads: “Kindness Matters.” It is a great encouragement to me on those days when I helplessly watch the world spinning out of control, knowing I can do nothing to stop it. I can’t stop young women from being kidnapped, beaten, branded or killed. I can’t stop road rage, random gang shootings, child abuse or the bombing in Aleppo. As the world turns, I’m pretty helpless.

I can, however, be kind to the people around me. Tim McGraw’s recent country hit song, “Humble and Kind,” inspired today’s column to share some random acts of kindness and inspire all of us at all seasons of the year. First we’ll start with an abbreviated version of the song’s reminder to always stay humble and kind:

“Humble and Kind”
Tim McGraw

"You know there’s a light that glows by the front door
Don’t forget the keys under the mat
When childhood stars shine, always stay humble and kind
Go to church cause your momma says too
Visit grandpa every chance that you can
It won't be wasted time

Always stay humble and kind

Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but

Tim McGraw and his wife Faith Hill practice what they preach. Some call them country music royalty. Others say they are two of the kindest people in show business. According to an article in the Huffington Post, they recently surprised a few Wal-Mart shoppers in Baker County, Florida with their generosity when they paid of $5,000 worth of layaway purchases.

TV station Action News Jax, reported that McGraw’s mother, Betty Trimble, told a shopper that she was playing Secret Santa and delivering the gifts. Jessica Lumpkin was one of the shoppers. She told the news outlet that she received a signed card and cash. “I didn’t have anything on layaway, I was just picking up a package and Tim’s mother gave me this. I’ve never had this happen to me. I’m glad I call Baker Co. my home.”

There are many simple ways in this song to be humble and kind but the list is endless. One of my readers recently sent me some inspiring photos that brought me to tears over the kindness of others to strangers. Kindness comes in many forms. I can’t print the photos but you’ll get the idea when you read the captions:

1.    A tourist in the tropics takes off his sandals and gives them to a homeless girl. That’s empathy.
2.    A motorcyclist stops, gets off his bike and helps an elderly lady across the street. That’s thoughtfulness.
3.    A retired barber in Calif. offers haircuts to the homeless for the price of a hug. That is caring and sharing.
4.    A police officer handcuffs himself to a woman ready to jump off a ledge. She doesn’t jump because he would die too! That is compassion beyond the call of duty.
5.    A box of tennis balls sits on a sandy beach. The sign says, “In loving memory of Phoebe (a dog). Help yourself to a ball for your pooch to enjoy…” That’s making memories.
6.    A grocery store clerk kneels down and ties the shoes of an elderly gentleman. That’s helpfulness.
7.    Spectators hoist a young man at a concert, above the crowd in his wheelchair so he can see the show too. That’s amazing!
8.    An elderly man had a heart attack while shoveling snow from his driveway. The paramedics took him to the hospital and then returned to finish shoveling the snow. That’s compassion.
9.    A stranger noticed a stray kitty sleeping in the rain. He covered her with his umbrella to keep her dry. That’s precious.
10.   Another stranger noticed that a homeless man was reading the same book over and over. He gave him his Kindle. That’s feeding the soul.

Finally, at a time when sometimes even religions don't trust one another, you will love this story of one religion helping another. It's a story of kindness, generosity and acceptance. It’s also a new tradition at Unity House, a Christian organization in Troy, NY, that offers services, including meals, to victims of domestic violence.

According to the Albany Times Union newspaper, it started when a volunteer from the Muslim Soup Kitchen Project approached Unity House and offered to serve Christmas dinner. The tradition continues. The 15-18 Muslim volunteers prepare enough meals for 100-200 people. That’s 400 meatballs, 26 pounds of spaghetti, 40 pounds of salad and 200 buns.

Why do they do this? “This is a seed that we’re planting for our young people,” said Azmat Ahmad who presides over the kitchen. “We’re supposed to practice charity every day. Having a day of service on Christmas is a way of introducing our young people to sharing. We like to do it,” she added as she watched her sons and other young volunteers prepare the meal. Last year, in the same spirit of giving, they also served spaghetti to children and their families at Ronald McDonald House in Albany, NY. That is generosity of spirit.

Kindness is a gift we can all give. Pass it on and we will all be blessed.

Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart. 
The Cottage Grove Sentinel

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