My Son and I—Being Kind Together?

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, June 3, 2014

BK kindness let me do it now

My Son and I—Being Kind Together?

There we were—in conversation with one another. (Rare circumstance now, that we should be in the same room together long enough to actually have a conversation!)

My son knows about this blog. (As he might ironically say, “Duh, Mom! Of course I know about it!”) After all, I’ve just been involved in this being-kind-thing for five months now. Anyway, he and I talked about my efforts to be kind and to take opportunities to be of service, and help others.

I acknowledge my religious affiliation. Yes, God (or if you like, my Higher Power) is a part of my motivation for this being-kind-thing. But, wait! There’s more! I have the definite feeling that God is pleased by my efforts to be of service to others. To be kind. My son had his own slant on this: he called it “light work.” He is exploring his own understandings of spirituality and God/Higher Power, and he is enthusiastic about my daily writing about being kind.

We had a lively, intellectual discussion this afternoon about how exerting positive energy (his term) helped a person to have a positive feeling/aura that emanated from them. (Again, his slant.) I agreed, and tried to say something similar to what he just said, but with a Christian understanding. We ended up agreeing that positive, beneficial feelings naturally came out of a person who was in the regular habit of being kind, helping others, and looking for opportunities to serve.

I gave him a specific example. I told him about our trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden two days ago. His father, sister and I went to enjoy the beautiful weather and even more beautiful floral and greenery displays. As the three of us walked toward a small bridge, we approached a family coming toward us. From my years and experience in the hospital, I identified them as Latino. Several women, some preschool or elementary aged daughters, and two men. The father (or maybe uncle?) pushed a toddler boy in a fancy plastic car with a long handle. (Bright blue, with red wheels and a red handle!) I made eye contact with the father and the boy as I came toward them. I smiled. The toddler looked up at me. Just as the man passed me, pushing the blue car, I looked down at the toddler. I smiled even more, bent over a little, and said, “Bueno!”

That was it. But the little boy started to smile! So did the adults. I straightened, made eye contact with the man and with the women again, and nodded my head as they passed us on the path.

My daughter and husband were several steps behind me. My daughter sighed. I heard my husband say softly to my daughter, “You might roll your eyes now, but eventually you will appreciate how your mom can instantly connect with people.”

This made me smile! All of it. My non-verbal interaction with the family on the bridge, my daughter’s subsequent sigh (and probable eye roll), and my husband’s comeback. But this was a wonderful example of being kind. Taking the opportunity to be friendly. Open, welcoming! Or as my son would say, practicing “light work.” God, thanks for the great opportunity! Help me be open to Your leading tomorrow, too.

@chaplaineliza

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Being Kind While Distracted?

A Year of Being Kind blog –Thursday, March 20, 2014

you are not alone

Being Kind While Distracted?

The last day at my conference for alcohol and drug counselors was today! Yes, there were some fantastic sessions! However, I had a difficult time concentrating.  But more about that, later.

The morning session was on ethics: the ethics of doing what counselors do, the dual relationships that can happen, and what might possibly be the results of those interactions. Dual relationships are a difficult animal! Sure, they happen, from time to time. And especially in parts of rural Illinois. This conference drew people from all over the state, so we had an opportunity to hear things from a wide variety of workplaces and backgrounds.

I enjoyed the afternoon session, too. The two facilitators presented a topic that made a lot of sense, given the kinds of people drug and alcohol counselors usually work with. The topic was on family systems—the way families work. Add some cultural differences and some relationship insights, and stir briskly. Then sprinkle with substance abuse issues, and what do you get? A common problem that people in this field often are forced to deal with. Family issues go far beyond anything that one individual might be dealing with.

Yes, I was interested in both sessions! I happened to sign up ahead of time (when I sent in my conference fee, last month). But there was some additional relationship stuff going on right now. I mean, with me, personally and currently. Or rather, with one of my family members. Since I was at a conference with other counselors, I thought, what a great place to get some advice! I asked two or three of my fellow counselors some general questions: here’s a basic situation, I said. How would you deal with it? What is one starting point? Where do you think you might concentrate?  And I also wanted to know, what was one action plan you might suggest? Since I was and am so close to my family situation, I need all the help I can get.

As I’ve mentioned before, the people at this conference are kind, encouraging, and caring, in all kinds of situations. Just so, in my personal situation, as well. Yes, I was distracted! Yes, it was quite a challenge to keep my mind on the sessions I was sitting in. But thank God, people were kind to me. I reciprocated, to the very best extent I could! I think it is marvelous that I am a part of a professional group that has such loving and caring people as members. I know that many of these people are people of faith, and I was able to connect with a few of them in that area, too. Able to be present with each other.

I also know that God is present with me, even though I am going through a rough time. (And it’s not just my business–it involves several others. If it were just my rough time I am talking about, I would let you know!) I take deep breaths. Say the Serenity Prayer. It’s not just an intellectual understanding, but I also have a deep-down feeling that God is right here, too. Next to me, for real. God is right next to you, too. Believe it.

@chaplaineliza

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