Monday, March 31, 2014

A Spread of Kindness

We couldn't have picked a better day or time. Pouring out. Windy. Cold. Underdressed children slightly cranky and fresh out of school. Everyone's hungry for lunch. So what do we do? Take them for a stroll, of course. Hehehe. The afternoon was clearly stressful to begin with but sometimes, especially this day,  I feel that tug at my heart and that "endurance" test from God asking me if I'm seriously going to let a rainy day deter us from taking a few minutes to do some good. 

I should start from the beginning. Recently, the Irish Children's Program of Rochester was brought to my attention via Facebook and I was highly interested in their hosting program where children from both Catholic and Protestant backgrounds in Ireland are brought to the US for a few weeks of bonding, exploring and gaining knowledge about our traditions in the US as well as finding peace amongst themselves (the Protestant and the Catholic children). Their mission statement to "promote peace through understanding" is significant to me and although interested in hosting a little one, we were a little rushed with the approaching registrant deadline so we decided to wait until a later opportunity. I have since "liked" their Facebook page and received an update shortly after St. Patrick's Day that they had quite a bit of carnations left to sell. I spoke with someone in their organization and Kelly and I decided it would be wonderful to not only support them by purchasing some carnations but to also share the flowers with others. Kelly and I are both nannies and we have a slew of kids on Thursdays so we decided this would be a good time to take the kids around a main road in town to visit local businesses and their patrons and have the kids offer up the flowers. The kids were eager to give this act a go. We visited insurance companies, town clerk office, a bar, the diner, the floral shop, the bakery, etc and we were met with luminous smiles. The most bittersweet part of this experience was the initial looks of, "What? For free?" and the expectation that we would be promoting something. It was our pleasure to inform all that we were simply wishing everyone a great day. We handed fifty carnations out to many grateful townspeople and the kids were met with offers for lollipops to the point we had to refuse! We explained to the kids that we were giving the flowers away because it is a nice gesture that makes people feel very good and that's what we want them to want for others. 

The unexpected pay off? This past Friday, Micah and I went out with our AMAZING friends to celebrate our upcoming birthdays. One of our stops was the bar we went to with the kids and I noticed one of the servers had been there the day we were there with the kids. When I asked her to be sure she immediately began telling us about how moved the staff and patrons were. She also mentioned how many of them went home to their children to think up ways to pay it forward. Needless to say, a few of us got a bit teary eyed. I guess that's one of those things you hope is the result of an act of kindness but we honestly were so happy for all the gratitude receivers expressed with each carnation the kids handed out that I did not even consider anything beyond that. To know that a few minutes of that day that we almost gave up over weather and other minuscule things caused multiple people to find their own way of giving to others was extremely humbling. I am so proud of each of these children and and the effort and understanding they bring with each new venture we set before them.

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