If I could give you one gift it would be to see yourself through my eyes and then you would see how special you really are.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Acts of random kindness

Thought for the day today was a thought provoking reflection of homelessness. The offering given by Vicky Beeching was triggered by the pictures of the spikes outside a block of private flats in Southwark, which are believed to have been installed to discourage the homeless from sleeping there.

Recent research shows that homelessness has increased over the past three years by 75% and when you consider that 30% of those who are homeless come from the care system, hopefully you will be as shocked as I and the many others who showed their disgust on social media. Once upon a time many of those homeless people would have been like those children used in the adverts to highlight the issues that the NSPCC and Barnardos deal with on a daily basis. Those pictures touch our hearts, encouraging us to donate money to help take care of children like those in the advert, but what happens to the children who can't be helped. They grow up into teenagers, young adults, then adulthood, we so very easily forget the children they once were and only see what they now portray, if we notice them at all.

Often all people need is an act of random kindness to help them find a new path to follow. You may not see the outcome of your action but that could be the saving moment in someone's life. A post adoption support worker I recently met could give you examples of children that on the face of it failed to achieve whilst with a foster carer, yet in later life that same child would say that they turned their life around because of that one foster carer. They just weren't ready at the time.

I have always tried to be kind to those I meet, but, just like anyone I have  my prejudices and steer clear of some people.  I believe that a moments kindness is often all someone needs. A cake on their birthday, a hug when they are sad or just a few minutes to stop and say hi.

Dr Robert Simon did a study of people who attempted to commit suicide by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge and found that many of them would not have jumped if someone had smiled at them that day. A random act of kindness does save lives.

Not that, that is what I necessarily mean, a moment of kindness costs us nothing yet can give so much. A hot drink for the homeless man on the street, a smile and a hello to the lady selling the Big Issue.  A quick visit to the old lady who has been poorly, helping out a mum in the playground by watching her children so she can have a couple of hours peace, or babysitting so she and her husband can celebrate their wedding anniversary.

I guess what I am saying is don't let the angry person, the sad person, the homeless person, the isolated person become invisible, include them in your day they will appreciate it. And don't do it for what you may get back in return. Someone once said to me "I wish I had cultivated the playground like you had, then maybe I would have people I could call on" yes really that is what they said "cultivated!!!"  Me I was just being friendly, I wasn't trying to acquire or score points, I have always done the best I can and for the reason that I could no catches, no expectations it's just the way I was brought up.

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