World Kindness Day

So I wasn’t sure what day to celebrate today, as it’s also Indian Pudding day, but if you’ve ever seen what Indian pudding looks like, you’ll know why we’re celebrating World Kindness Day instead. Kindness Day was born when a collection of humanitarian groups came together on November 13, 1997 and made a “Declaration of Kindness”.

Today is apparently all about doing something nice for someone, at some point during the day. Simple gestures, also called random acts of kindness, are highly encouraged. Why would something so seemingly simple like kindness require a dedicated day to focus on it? Because let’s face it, kindness is harder than it looks.

Though I consider myself a kind person, it got me thinking about acts of kindness. This isn’t something you can just sit and think about, it’s something that involves another living thing. I began to worry because nothing was springing to mind as an example of my kind acts, like helping someone plant flowers (I hate doing that), or helping someone move (that’s why they have moving companies), or helping someone paint their house (they’re called painters, I’ll get your their number).

When someone is sick or in the hospital, I hate going because I hate hospitals and the whole situation just feels awkward. I’m horrible with knowing what to do or say and have no idea what kind act I should be doing. I just want to leave. But then I remembered one trip to the hospital I did take before my grandmother passed away.

My grandmother was always a strong woman with an amazing sense of humor. When I arrived at the hospital and saw her, I was shocked to see a frail old woman in her late 90’s who seemed so scared. I panicked wondering what the “kind” people would do and say in this situation. I should have brought flowers, or a card, or some lovely baked good or something. But I had nothing.

Then I realized, that being kind isn’t done by following a list of social rules to be mimicked. And it’s not about doing something that would make me feel good. The whole point was this other person, and making them feel like the world wasn’t different somehow, even though they’re now in a hospital bed. So I walked over to my grandmother and said, “What the hell are they doing to you? You look like crap!”

The scared expression left her face, turning to surprise, and then she managed a laugh. “I know! It’s like they’re trying to kill me or something!” she said, to which we both laughed. I sat down next to her bed and grabbed her hand. “Do you want me to kick their ass? Because I will?” I wouldn’t. And she knew it. I wasn’t one of her ass-kicking kin, but she smiled at the gesture and patted my hand.

“No,” she said. “I want you to sing something for me. You always had such a lovely voice.” Then it was my turn to be surprised. I hadn’t really known that was something she admired about me. By that point, my sister had entered the room and sat down in the chair in the corner, creating an audience of two. I didn’t know what to say, much less what to sing. I was the idiot who came without flowers.

“What do you want to hear?” I asked, to which she replied, “Just something pretty.” And so I sang the first thing that came to mind, “On the Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady, because I’d used it for an audition piece recently. It’s supposed to be a romantic song, which would seem inappropriate, but since it was written in the 1950’s, it worked out just fine.

I kept singing songs and holding her hand, as I watched the blood come back into her cheeks and a smile appear. Then I sang some more as she laid back down on her pillow, and slowly drifted off to sleep. I hadn’t even noticed the tear that was rolling down my cheek, but I wasn’t sad. I had managed to do the right thing, just by doing what someone really needed, and she was happy again.

My grandmother would stick around for a few more years after that, before finally passing just shy of her 100th birthday. I figured I’d doodlewash the flowers I forgot to bring that day, even though they were never really required. Sometimes kindness is just showing up, being ridiculously you, and the holding the hand of someone you love.

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

49 replies on “World Kindness Day

  1. You are truly one of the kindest people I know, dear man! xo Kindness is also not about what you DO but sometimes about what you don’t do. You don’t purposely hurt animals; that is a very kind thing!

    And I don’t know if it’s the right place to say this (what a horrid juxtaposition to World Kindness Day) but if Philippe has family in Paris, I hope they are all right, and I’m keeping all of Paris and France in my heart. I can’t begin to express my sympathy for everyone involved in the tragedy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Teresa!! ❤️😃 I almost did a post focused on what not to do to people so we treated them nice like animals. 😉 And there is no segue for Paris. Ironically this was set and ready to post when Philippe texted me about what happened there. Which proves only that some people themselves can be like savage animals, and oh the irony of it being World Kindness Day. 😔 Happy to report all friend and family are safe. Thank you friend ❤️❤️

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m so glad that your family and friends are safe! Why do some people place so little value on life and just want to take everyone down with them? If I had my wish, the world would be filled with people like you and we’d have no wars or crime. xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Because we’re not dealing with people here…but something else, something less human. I never understood why these monsters who intend to die don’t just get on with it and leave everyone else out of the equation. If the world were only filled with folks like us, it would be an amazing place. ❤️😃 And a hell of a lot more fun and happy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Just showing up is key, thank you for that reminder Charlie and so lovely that you could share your gift, a beautiful voice.

    And much like Teresa, my concerns for Philippe’s family and friends in Paris and France. I feel terrible too, so horrible.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Charlie – Your presence in people’s lives is your kindness “present” that you share. Being kind is a lifestyle for you as far as I can see – not an act or gesture you do here or there. Your kindness is overflowing – and I just KNEW your post would be about world kindness day! Someone at work wished me a happy world kindness day this morning, and I later thought – I’ll be that’s what Charlie’s post will be. Beautiful daisies you beautiful human being. 🙂 PS Glad Philippe’s family is safe. According to the news, the death toll is rising – so sad…… Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Jodi for the kind words!! ❤️❤️ I had created the post and set everything up to go live when Philippe texted me with the news. I strange irony, and truly sad. I can’t believe it. But I guess that’s why we need a Kindness Day in this crazy world. Sad there are still those among us who won’t ever understand what it means. 😔

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful daisies, and I love the lush background. A nice summery warmth coming from it; most refreshing for this time of year.

    Of course, this celebration is horribly ironic with the terrible events in Paris, but perhaps it also serves a well-timed reminder (not that we should ever need it) of how lucky we are to have certain people around, to be kind to them and to look after them, even when we’re not entirely sure how best do to that. An incredibly moving story.

    So glad to hear that Philippe’s family are safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Jacob! ❤️ This was set to post and then I got the text from Philippe about what happened. It’s insanely ironic, but perhaps a needed reminder that we do actually need more kindness in this stupid world. Sometimes I think the kind people are just a little choir singing to ourselves. 😔

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Sharon. ❤️ It was chilling to set this one to post and immediately receive a text from Philippe about what just happened. Our friend was hiding in a building, afraid to return home. The world is a maddening place when the few evil animals show up. Luckily good, kind humans outnumber them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely painting and a lovely post… “Sometimes kindness is just showing up, being ridiculously you, and the holding the hand of someone you love.” Perfectly said. The world needs love, more daisies, and kindness is sure to follow. Peace and hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. After reading your reply to my comment I simply had to look up Indian Pudding online. And realised that this is a traditional American dessert and not Indian as in the Asian continent.. we have some heavenly puddings in our country which will make you ask for more.🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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