Small Acts; Big Kindness (CELEBRATE This Week: 204}

I’m glad you are here to celebrate! 

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. 

Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.
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Sometimes it takes longer to wrangle words than I expect. This celebration is an important one to document, but it feels so big that I keep sidestepping the time it takes to put corral some words on the page. I don’t have time to write, but I’m going to do it anyway.

Last week I went to a conference with central office administrators, principals, coaches and teacher leaders from our school district. We were a big group and the conference was a long, three day conference. I was torn between being grateful for the new learning alongside school leadership and missing summer alongside my kids.

I was eating breakfast on the last day of the conference, and one of the principals said, “Oh, Ruth, I bought you something.”

She sat a brown shopping bag on the table in front of me. I was surprised. Inside the bag was a white tea towel with stamped black words:

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
— Benjamin Franklin

I was so taken back by this random act of kindness that I didn’t know what to say. I blinked  too fast so that the tears pricking the back of my eyes wouldn’t escape. 

Cindy, the principal, said, “I saw that and thought of you. I decided you just needed to have it.”

I composed myself enough to say, “Thank you. It’s a favorite writing quote of mine.”

Cindy and I have crossed professional paths for nearly 15 years. I admire her from a  distance, never getting to know her well. She became a principal before it was common for women to be in leadership roles. She navigates the needs of a k-8 building and sticks to her core beliefs. She was Kim’s best friend. 

This is what holds the most distinction. I wrote about Kim earlier this year. Her life ended abruptly in a car accident on Christmas day. Her legacy remains: It’s all good. I also wrote about the way Kim inspired me to love in big, over-the-top ways, like when I gave love away

When Cindy handed me a bag with a gift simply because she thought of me, it meant more to me than an absent-minded gesture. It was Kim in action. 

It was a small act of kindness that reminded me it’s all good

My towel hangs on the handle of my oven, in an old-fashioned tribute to my mom who loves to showcase favorite dishtowels. More importantly, I am reminded of the power of small acts of kindness in making people feel loved in big ways.



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9 Comments »

  1. There are those small surprises in our lives that we should savor, I agree. I love hearing about your mother displaying favorites too, Ruth. I have one “winter” towel that I get out every year in late fall. Happy Weekend!

  2. A beautiful story of how much as act of kindness means.

    My mom, too, always had dish towels hanging on the oven door. A habit I picked up. My mom would often include a set in Christmass packages she sent when I was living far from home. I've gifted my daughter with a few, too.

  3. What a beautiful story behind the simple gift. I'm glad you wrangled those words and took the time to put them out for the world to read. We need more moments of those acts of kindness today. I know your acts touch lives and change them forever and you don't even know the extent of just being you. Hugs to all the Ayres in these last days of summer.

  4. Ruth, the kitchen cloth has a great quote and the way you received it is a wonderful story. Kindness acts come when we least expect them but that is the beauty of random acts of kindness. I think of this community and the space you provide as a connecting channel where we bring the story of positivity and celebration to each other every week. Thank you.