I have a theory: I think our world is like our bodies.
We become healthy with tiny, day-by-day good decisions. Maybe we go for a walk. Or say no to that second piece of pie. Or have a cup of tea instead of another rum and Coke.
Some of those decisions are hard. We have to be intentional about remembering the bigger goal.
I think our world operates on the same formula. I think our world becomes healthy by tiny, day-by-day acts of kindness.
When I am tempted to fret over the macro level things I see on the news, I focus on the massive unfolding of kindness at the micro level. There are so many people working for change. Even if we don’t feel equipped to be the change, we are.
With every interaction, we get the opportunity to bring more light to the world. It happens by making eye contact, smiling or asking someone how their day is going and if we can do anything to make it better. Eventually, all of those little acts of goodness penetrate hearts, drop by drop, creating a tidal wave in families, communities, countries and our world.
We’ve seen the hard work of compassionate people pay off again and again throughout history. Juneteenth (June 19) is a time to celebrate the change that happened 155 years ago when enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, were told they were free.
Can you even imagine all the kindness that had to happen after that day to help people really break free from their circumstances and create new lives? Not necessarily headline news sort of help, but rather the encouragement of friends, family and community members who saw a need and filled it.
I believe that sort of help is still happening today, now more than ever, because of our ability to connect our time, talent and treasure online with people we have never even met. I see it in virtual cancer support meetings, mom swap groups and in the way we “share” uplifting content.
I’m curious about how you see the world. How have you seen change from small acts of kindness in your own life?
Sasha from Pennsylvania sent me this message with her thoughts on what she’s seeing from her vantage point.
"It’s very interesting. I’m noticing kindness on a micro level, but obviously, the macro level is not looking positive.
"I have very pleasant exchanges with, what seem, genuinely kind people at the store, etc. I’m curious as to where something is missing.
"I guess what I’m saying is it restores my faith connecting with actual people as opposed to just reading about them in the news. Keep up the good 'fight' everybody!"
So how about you? How do you see the role of kindness in today’s culture?
Have you seen little acts of kindness add up to big change, or are you still unsure of its power? I’d love to hear from you.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicole J. Phillips, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Aberdeen, S.D., with her three children and her husband, Saul Phillips, the head men's basketball coach at Northern State University. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.