There is a saying that no act of kindness is ever wasted. Listening to the eulogies of the late President George H. W. Bush, I hear the one accomplishment of this brave man that all agree on is his kindness. Many people have come forth with one of the famous short notes written by the late President, addressed specifically to them, to thank, encourage, or acknowledge some achievement on another.
Kindness is a habit, sort of like the magnificent obsession to give away love and helpfulness, just for the joy of doing it. Part of the mystery of kindness is that it is likely to be passed on, once given. Holding a door often results in the next person also holding the door. Courtesy to a wait person seems to replicate at a table when one guest thanks the server instead of ordering them, “Thank you for you service,” once heard seems like exactly the right thing to say to a veteran. Picking up litter often inspires others to do the same. Being kind and being thankful go hand in hand for those who seek to live a good life. Sometimes the kindest words of all may be no words, when we do not return an insult for an insult or do not pile on when people berate someone who is absent.
One can know all mental health diagnoses and be an expert on interventions and medications, but when it comes down to it, what often helps most is a kind and trained ear to hear the worries and heartbreaks of another without judgment. The greatest power to help and to heal as was shown in our late president’s long life is the ability to give kindness. No act of kindness is ever wasted.