Let Us Smile
As summer days get warmer and the temperatures rise, it’s clear to see we’re all beginning to feel a little bit happier, as we confine our winter knits to the back of the wardrobe once again.
It got me thinking about happiness and how random acts of kindness are cropping up all over the place.
Recent reports claim that while everyone is pulling the belt in, a positive result of the more austere times have shown an increase in kindness to our fellow man.
When talking to members of the wartime generation, they recall a similar thing. The 1940s and 50s were times of terrible hardship as a result of rationing brought about by WWII.
But it was also hailed as a time when communities pulled together in defiance against the common enemy. People left their front doors unlocked when they went out, neighbours all knew each other and people genuinely cared for one another.
It’s clear that things are different now. Tragic news stories of our time have reinforced people’s fears for the safety of their children and themselves.
There are some really terrible things happening. But while this is true, there are also some amazing things happening.
One example that really struck me was ‘suspended coffee’ – an idea which began in Italy several years ago that has taken off in coffee shops across the world. Basically, when you buy yourself a coffee at a participating cafe, you also pay for a second one - which can then be claimed by someone who cannot afford it themselves.
They don't have to "prove" anything to claim one, but the scheme relies on the good faith of everyone involved. It doesn’t have to be for just homeless people, but can be for anyone who is struggling to make ends meet.
Acts of kindness don’t even have to mean spending your money.
I sometimes slate the village I live in. It’s quiet, there’s not much at all to do. Let’s face it, it’s completely boring. But on pounding the streets with my pram, as I regularly do, I’ve noticed one thing. Everyone you pass smiles and says hello. Some even stop and talk to you like they’ve known you for years.
The bigger cities may have the better parks and the trendy cafes and wine bars, but people seem to look at the ground when they walk by. It’s amazing the response you get when you smile and it was wonderful to find how a smile from a stranger seemed to brighten my day.
For just a day or even a week, why not try and do something to brighten someone’s day and I guarantee it will make you feel better too. Who knows, that person you pass in the street, may not have seen someone smile at them for weeks. So why not give it a go?
As the old saying goes “mighty oaks from little acorns grow” and maybe, this time next year we’ll all be feeling a little happier.