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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Day 2: Kindness and Respect Challenge (Add to the good karma chain)

October 2, 2013

Yesterday was a good day. I was reminded how this kindness and respect thing can have ripple effects. When we’re on the receiving end of an act of kindness it touches and transforms us, if only for a short while. And during that window of transformation we’re more caring, more open, and yes, more vulnerable to our human tendency to look out for one another. And so… we are more likely to be kind to the next human.

Illustration in point: On the way up to Fawn Ridge where we like to hike, I tried to parallel park beside a rocky hillside. Got a little too close and knocked off some plastic thing from under my car. Which, by the way, I didn’t notice until two hours later when I returned to my car and some kind guy pointed it out.

That was last week and yesterday I finally made it to the dealership to get the plastic thing reattached. I left the car while they examined it and visited a nearby Target where I got a call from the woman at the dealership telling me the repair would cost $200.

I’m like, “Woah! No thanks. I’m gonna pass.”

Woman: OK. We won’t do the work.

Returning to fetch my car, I’m greeted by the manager holding an invoice in the amount of $73. Since it was only Day 1 of my Kindness and Respect Challenge, I took some slow deep breaths and calmly asked, “Why am I paying for work that wasn’t done?”

Fair question, right?

Manager: We did reattach it (the plastic under thingie). We also replaced a missing bolt on your license plate. No charge. We would have washed car but our machine isn’t working. Sorry about that. Here’s a coupon for a local car wash.

Me (mightily confused): You reattached it?  But… uh… I thought… Wait! How much do I owe you?

Manager: $25

Me (mightily relieved): Oh! OK!

So I left feeling like I’d just been bathed in a shower of kindness. The afterglow stayed with me as I drove home along Lincoln Avenue and spotted a woman in an electric cart driving on the sidewalk. She hit a bump and her helmet flew off the back seat without her noticing. Still glowing, I pulled over, waited for her, rolled down the window and said, “You lost your helmet back there.”

She smiled, beautifully, and thanked me. That’s not why I did it, but it felt good.

What happened to you yesterday?

PS Check out Day 3 of the Kindness and Respect Challenge.

Filed under: Cruel's Not Cool,Parenting — Tags: — Annie @ 10:46 am
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