If I were looking back from the end of my life and telling others what would help the world, what would make the biggest difference, I would ask each person to look around today and find a small “Random Act of Kindness” they could do that would help a stranger.
I would say to go against your ingrained biases, suspend judgment, and think the best for someone who appeared to be on the other “side.” Do something to help them without thinking of a return. I believe that when you envision the best traits for someone in need, they may be lifted by your care. It need not be a great act—just letting someone know you appreciate something about them is enough to lift their life a little higher.
National, religious, and cultural differences look small when you recognize that each person cares as much for their children and their family as you do. I saw a scene that positively affected hundreds of people. There was a deadly riot that was expanding until one incident neutralized it. A young man ran to attack an old man in the violent crowd. The old man dropped his weapon and hugged his attacker. Like ripples in a pond, the violence was quelled. There was sobbing as people looked around and took in what could have evolved. These were real people, not faceless enemies.
There was a young girl entering high school who had already been in 30 foster homes, creating problems in each one. In her math class she threw a golf ball that grazed her teacher’s head. The teacher’s first instinct would normally have been to have the student expelled. Instead, she chose to see a better future for this child. One day, soon after, she asked the girl if she would babysit her 2 children. The girl could hardly believe someone would see the good in her. Since then she has graduated from college with honors and is on her way to graduate school to go into social work to help others. Her high school teacher and 2 daughters were cheering her on at graduation.
I believe one person doing a small act of kindness for a stranger can influence that person, himself, and everyone who witnesses it. I also believe that altruism is part of our evolving behavior. If we see this act, we’re naturally inclined to pass it forward. Everyone should agree only good can come of this.
Fifty years from now, warring parties will not have the same leaders. Their citizens will still have the ultimate hope of safety and happiness for their families. My hope is that new leaders worldwide will aspire to a higher level. Meanwhile, today, each of us can do one small act to be a role model for others.
That’s not too much for you or me, is it?