Small Acts of Kindness: The Power to Make or Break

Not to be negative…but there’s a lot of negativity in this world. Whether its politics on Facebook or gossip stories on the magazines in the checkout line or the endless, heartbreaking stories on the news. It’s everywhere. I usually like starting my mornings with coffee on the couch, while the house is still quiet and dark, with the news on TV. Lately though, instead of feeling cozy under my blankets, I end up feeling like I need a whole lot more coffee and a whole lotta Jesus after hearing of the endless violence, death and hate.

In our day to day lives, the worldly issues sometimes seem distant, but everyone is dealing with something. Sometimes, it’s a really difficult season of life with hard decisions or pain and grief. Sometimes, its just a lot of little things building up throughout the day. Thinking about how big of a difference the little things can make, has been at the forefront of my heart lately. Whether we’re walking around in the grocery store or driving through traffic or going about our normal day at work – we have a lot of power.

Through even the smallest gestures or expressions and acts of kindness, we have the power to make or break someone’s day.

How cool and how valuable is that?!

The Power to Make or Break

In the early weeks of being pregnant, I remember vividly walking back from the bathroom at work after secretly throwing up for the 3rd time that day. I felt terribly sick. I was overwhelmed with the fact that I was actually carrying a baby, stressed about some decisions we were having to make about our life plans at home…there was a lot going on in my mind, and no one around me knew anything about it. As I was walking back to my desk, a woman I hadn’t met before told me how pretty my skirt was. The small comment, that she didn’t have to say, made my whole day. 

I really, genuinely believe that those thoughts that pop into our heads are not by coincidence. You know those thoughts like when we randomly think of a friend or feel an urge to say something to someone. We might rarely act on them, but in not acting we may be losing an opportunity. 

Another memory imprinted on my heart was a hectic day of errands with three under 3. I had each of the twins carseats in the bend of my arms and I was begging my toddler to stay close as we maneuvered our way out of the store. Someone grabbed the door for us and I tried to avoid eye contact, because we were a fiery hot mess. The person smiled and said, “You’re doing great, Mom!” Wow. I almost cried out of gratitude and hope and exhaustion. What a blessing to hear THAT after the 28 other comments echoing in my mind about how full my hands were. 

I’m urging you to take on the perspective of the powerful gift we have with our words and actions throughout the day. Don’t sit on the power to make someone’s day better. Don’t hold in words that could give life to someone. 

Just as the two stories above have contained small, random words of kindness, we can all recall moments where the opposite has happened. A time when everything is going wrong and the person on the phone seems more than annoyed to have to help you. Or someone lets the door slam in your face or honks and flails their arms at you as you’re crossing the street after a terrible day at work.

It is crazy how impactful the little things we do or don’t do in life can be for those around us. 

I encourage you, and am reminding myself daily, that we never know what the people around us are going through. They could be having one of those “little things building up” kind of bad days or maybe they’re silently dealing with some really hard situations that we can’t imagine going through.

Maybe the woman in line is second guessing her parenting skills as her toddler is throwing a tantrum. Maybe the mom at the park hasn’t slept in the 10 months since her baby was born. Maybe the person crossing the street is already holding back tears as hard as she can until she gets to her car.

Using that power we have to make someone’s day or even just make life for that one moment a little easier can be a blessing. Be the positive in the world, through a compliment or gesture or smile. You never know whose day you may be making. 

Have you ever seen any random acts of kindness or experienced a nice pick-me-up on a rough day? 


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Kaitlin was born and raised in small-town Center Point, Iowa and grew up across town from her high school sweetheart, Jordan. They didn’t go far as they both attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids, getting married just a month after graduating. They now live in Marion with their 1 year old daughter, Ella, and Golden Retriever, Millie. With a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a passion to teach and help others, Kaitlin is studying at the University of Iowa in the Masters of Teaching Science program. When she’s not in class or teaching piano lessons from her home, her favorite thing in life is staying home with her daughter. If she can ever find a spare minute, she also enjoys the outdoors, scrapbooking, cooking, party planning and German chocolate cake. Though life is jam-packed right now, she wouldn’t have it any other way!