I’ve found that during the toughest times in my life — like dealing with cancer, the death of a parent, or a tragic event — it’s the little things people do for you that make all the difference. They don’t cost a lot, and in fact, most of them don’t cost a cent. But small actions can move mountains. I call them “Tiny Kindnesses.”
I think Tiny Kindnesses should be a thing. Really. Me, a woman who revels in making snarky comments. Me, a woman who has the short fuse of a flea with a bad temper. I’m a firm believer that Tiny Kindnesses can change the world, one sweet, loving gesture at a time.
1. Give someone something… anything!
Recently, a little girl handed me a bright orange aster at an outdoor concert as part of Kind’s Flower Wall. At events across seven US cities, the company provided thousands of beautiful flowers with the stipulation that you “pass it on.” For some reason, that cute little angel chose me. It made my day!
(Debra Oswald on feeling useful. Post continues after video.)
2. Give of yourself.
I am the wife of a firefighter whose husband by some miracle came home safe on 9/11. We felt blessed but we were also devastated. We never thought we’d recover. But then people from around the country and around the world reached out to us. School children sent us peace cranes. New Jersey boat owners treated us to a lovely day on Barnegat Bay. B&Bs on Capes Cod and May opened up their places to us. Slowly but surely, we healed. Courtesy of Tiny Kindnesses.
3. Give a meal.
To someone with an Italian heritage like me, food = love. Especially homemade food. Nothing can brighten someone’s mood like lovin’ from the oven: a batch of still-warm chocolate chip cookies; a huge, glistening, golden vat of chicken soup; or your kick-ass meatloaf with all the trimmings. Everyone has a specialty. Share yours with a buddy who needs a lift.
4. Give a note.
Write a letter or postcard by hand, or send an email or text that says you’re thinking of someone who’s going through a rough patch. Even better, include a photo from better times to make them laugh. Having a human connection tells people they’re not alone, even in cyberspace. (Post continues after gallery.)