Flatter me, and I may not believe you.
Criticize me, and I may not like you.
Ignore me, and I may not forgive you.
Encourage me, and I will not forget you.
- William A. Ward
Today I had a 4 mile run scheduled and planned to run from my house, to the top of memorial hill and back. I determined that I would run without stopping to the top of the hill. I really like running this route because it's the perfect length for me, I get a great view of the valley and I rarely come upon others running the hill mid-morning.
Things went a little differently today. Apparently several of the local elementary school classes also decided it would be a good day to climb the hill. I found myself running in between what seemed to be 100+ third and fourth graders. They were coming down as I was going up. Near the top I started running out of steam. All I could think of was how good it would feel to stop. Just at that moment one of the little girls I was passing said, "You're almost there. The top is just around the corner." I kept going.
On my way down the hill, I again passed many of the same kids. When I reached the bottom I was greeted by cheers, high fives, and several rounds of 'good job.' It may seem like such a small thing, but to me it made a huge difference.
This simple experience has made me reflect on the power we have to influence others. One of the definitions of encourage is 'to contribute to the progress or growth of others.' What a beautiful definition. While everyone has the opportunity to choose happiness or misery regardless of circumstances, we each can do much to 'contribute' to the well-being of those around us.
Have you experienced a small act of kindness that made a significant impact? What experiences have you had showing small kindnesses?