Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
One summer morning we accidentally got to the library eight minutes early. On the surface this doesn’t seem like a big deal . . . but with three spirited boys, eight extra minutes can feel like eight hours. At the time, my sons were seven, six, and four — the perfect ages for high curiosity and low impulse control. As we entered the small outer foyer and I realized the main library wasn’t open yet, low-grade panic set in. My kids were not cut from the “sit still and wait patiently” kind of cloth.
So they returned our bag full of books, slurped water from the drinking fountain, hid under the massive stairwell, and asked a gazillion questions. There was a trip to the bathroom and a thorough investigation of a row of cup- boards foolishly void of padlocks. As the minutes inched on, more people joined us in the waiting vestibule. Staring eyes weren’t in short supply.
“Be aware of others. Stay near me. Quiet words, please,” I reminded them often.
My boys weren’t being bad. Just inquisitive, antsy, talkative, active kids. And after eight minutes, their mama was exhausted. When the clock struck ten, the large sliding glass doors finally opened. The small crowd slowly descended into the sanctuary of books. Jude jumped and Elias squealed and Noah started to sprint as I reminded them again to please walk and use inside voices.
An older woman who had been waiting nearby caught my eye. “It’s going to be a long summer,” she said.
“Yeah, it is,” I replied with a weak smile and sigh.
Then her eyes brightened, and her smile warmed. “But you’re doing a great job. Thank you for being here,” she added.
I had braced myself for a stranger’s rebuke — parenting in public in the little years made me sweat with anxiety. But instead of judgment I was met with the kindness of simple encouragement. All I could do was whisper thank you. She gave me a knowing nod and entered the library as I followed my sons — my back a bit straighter, my steps a bit lighter.
A small, unexpected thank you from a stranger. A word to make someone feel seen. Is there an easier gift of kindness to give?
So I pass on these sweet words to you: Thank you. Thank you for changing diapers and reading stories. Thank you for going to work and still making dinner when you’re dog-tired. Thank you for cheering at swim lessons and folding laundry and answering the billionth question to quench a little person’s curiosity. Thank you for helping your neighbor and listening to your coworker. Thanks for getting to church early to set up or staying late to tear down. Thanks for mentoring that teenager. Thanks for doing your mundane job with a smile. Thanks for putting one foot in front of the other.
Thank you for being you. No one else could fill your shoes.
TODAY: Choose someone to give the gift of simple encouragement.
-Written by Becky Keife, adapted from The Simple Difference: How Every Small Kindness Makes a Big Impact
Leave a Comment
Kindness only takes a minute and cost you nothing. My daily goal is to share it as much as possible.
Becky Keife says
What a beautiful daily goal!
And thank you for this reminder. I have made it a habit of late to thank folks who are working- yesterday it was the young man at the post office. Let’s see what today brings.
Becky Keife says
It’s amazing what a simple thank you can do. Surely God is using you!
Beth Williams says
At work I often thank others for doing their job. It may seem silly, but housekeeping usually just hears about what’s wrong. I try my best to appreciate them for helping us out. Hey it just might be the words that make their day. Everyone deserves to be appreciated. Kindness only takes a few minutes but can make a huge impact.
Thank you for spending your precious time, composing, editing, & then publishing this Devotional. Thank you for courageously sharing a piece of your personal past, in hopes of encouraging me today. Thank you for allowing God to use your writing skills to bless my life; it was simple, but powerfully anointed! Thank you,!
Becky Keife says
That means so much!
Ruth Mills says
Brenda M. Russell says
This is my blessing for today. I lived with my Grandmother, Ms. Willie Bell, from birth (midwife delivery) until I said “I Do” (age 21). She lived love and kindness before me and my family and our neighbors until she went to Heaven. Glory Hallelujah !
If I can recall her routine daily it included Bible reading, Almanac Reading, Dictionary Reading, Sewing and telling me “God blesses obedience” to remind me that God wants me to be obedient.
Oh how I miss her presence and her wisdom. My family adored her and my children would run to her arms just to say hello.
God really gifted my Grandmother to me as a mentor.
I want to see others and allow them to share their experiences with me if they want a listening ear. I want to accept others right where they are, motherhood, college student, or coworkers. I am not perfect and no human being is perfect but I serve an Awesome God. His Love is Unfailing.
Enjoy your day Everyone.