In a world where you can be anything be kind

In a world where you can be anything be kind.

How full is your Bucket? By Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer, illustrated by Maurie J. Manning is a children’s story based on the New York Times Bestselling book of the same title. It is about how every interaction you have during the day either fills or empties your imaginary bucket. In the children’s book Felix realizes that everything he says or does to others fills or empties their buckets too. He learns how easy it is to fill the buckets of his friends, teachers and family members. He learns how to be a great bucket filler and in the process he realizes that filling someone else’s bucket also fills his own. I think this is a wonderful lesson for children to learn so this was one of the first of the metaphysical books that I bought for Nana’s Corner.

When you give a random act of kindness you feel just as good as the person on the receiving end. It is ironical that doing something nice for someone else also makes you feel better. If you are feeling down one way to perk yourself up is by showing a random act of kindness. So often we hear of people who are depressed and when they started doing something for someone else they started to feel better themselves. The Dalai Lama said if you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

I heard about a woman who started sending out anonymous letters to people that were in need of support as a random act of kindness and now has a website called dedicated to this cause. They have sent out more than 250 000 love letters so far.

I used to belong to a journaling group and every month we sent out a bundle of hand written cards to people in need of support. We each got a chance to pick a recipient and later when I landed up in hospital I became the recipient of that month’s bundle. The uplifting messages in the cards filled my bucket and I knew that it had also filled theirs.  

My husband works for a cherry and walnut farm and he often gets fresh produce to bring home. I once dropped off a bag of walnuts on my neighbour’s front doorstep as a random act of kindness. When she realized they were from me she called to say thank you and it was the start of a beautiful new friendship.

I have just read Woman Makes a Plan, Advice for a lifetime of adventure, beauty and success by Maye Musk, Elon Musk’s mother. She is a 71-year-old supermodel, public speaker and has had a lifelong career as a respected dietician. She has lived in eight different cities across three countries on two continents. She says you can’t control everything that happens, but you can live a happy, healthy and fun filled life at any age. All you have to do is make a plan. The title of the book is based on the well known Afrikaans expression, ‘n boer make ‘n plan, which translated literally means a farmer makes a plan. For nine years she suffered in an abusive relationship until she removed herself and her three young children and started over. She brought her children up to be independent, kind, honest, considerate and polite, to work hard and do good things. She allowed them to follow their passions and their passions became their careers. All three of her children are successful at what they do. I think this is a great way to bring up children.

In fact, it reminds me of the way we brought up our two sons, Adrian and Nicholaas, by encouraging them to follow their passions. Adrian loved building things with his Duplo and then his Lego and later when he went to England his first job was putting up a temporary construction at Ascot. When he was two and a half he used to wake up in the morning and go straight to his building blocks. Nicholaas was always interested in making money and understood the concept of money from a very young age. When I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up he always said he wanted to make lots of money and use it to follow his passions. When he finished his degree in finance Adrian asked him to start a business with him and that was the start of a very successful events business. They had both followed their passions.

May Musk talks about kindness in her book saying that her life was made easier by random acts of kindness. Strangers helped her out of uncomfortable, unhappy or difficult situations and never asked anything in return. Her advice is to be good to strangers.

How full is your bucket? and A woman makes a plan advocate kindness. They say that if you show kindness you will receive kindness back. In a world where you can be anything be kind. What goes around comes around. This is the law of Karma.

Blog Post by Nana Sue Van Breda


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