Small Acts of Kindness

Natalie Singer - St. Louis, Missouri
Entered on May 15, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

All it takes is a simple hello, a bright smile, or a nice complement. When people are feeling glum, I know that if I cheer them up, it will truly make their day and mine too. This may seem strange, but I really like making individuals feel good about themselves. People say that I shouldn’t forget to think of myself too. I tell them that I won’t because when I demonstrate a simple act of kindness, I’m thinking that I would appreciate that gesture too. I believe that no act of kindness, no matter how small is ever a waste of time.

This past winter and spring, I began making 75 pillows for Camp Rainbow, a camp for children with cancer. Some of the kids are in remission and others are going through treatment. When I heard about this camp, I wanted to desperately make the children there feel special and loved. Friends and family willingly helped me with this task. Cutting fabric, tying it into bows, and putting the pillows together gave me so much pleasure knowing how much these kids will appreciate this simple act. This project will forever be considered time well spent. Visualizing kids with cancer makes me sad, but imagining them using these pillows gives me pride and makes me feel like I have done something tremendously important.

There are other generous acts I have done that have made a difference in someone else’s life. This August, it will be three years since my great grandmother passed away. Every Sunday, my family would visit her at Parc Provence, a retirement home. I would always say, “We already went last Sunday!” My mom would explain to me that going up to her and giving her a hug would clearly make her day. I went into the building, smiling, thinking about what my mom had said. All the elderly people smiled back at me. I had that gut feeling that my smile, that one little act, made others around me feel happy too. I ran up to my great grandmother saying, “Hi Maw-Maw!” and gave her a hug. She grinned from ear to ear acknowledging how loved she was. She always said, “I missed you so much! And guess what? I have three loads of chocolate here that I won playing bingo.” I would laugh, but then head straight for the delicious chocolate. I forgot how much joy my great grandmother gave to my family.

Many months later, my great grandmother passed away. I started to really miss going to her retirement home on Sunday afternoons. I missed the way she would laugh at my jokes, the candy she would always have, and the smile she had on her face when I entered her doorway. Her smile, that gesture, made me happy too. My small acts of kindness were no waste of time because my great grandmother truly valued it.

There are even some acts that require little words, but make someone feel much better. About two months ago, I noticed that a classmate of mine was having an especially bad day. She looked really upset and hurt. She was always smiling, spreading her joy. I walked up to her, made her laugh, and helped to change her mood. So, that maybe took up the five minutes I had between classes, but who cares? It was worth it. She walked off smiling, feeling a lot more like herself. My 20 words made a difference in someone else’s life, and that’s what I live for.

Doing these acts of kindness makes me realize what life is about. I enjoy hugging a family member, smiling to a friend, and even helping a stranger. All these acts make people feel good, and it makes me feel rejuvenated and joyful. There are things that may make take up a lot of time, and gestures that may not always be extremely important, but I know that any kind act I do will always be appreciated.