As the end of summer draws near, I wanted to share one of my favorite news stories from the season.
It seems that hatred is so contagious, and the media seems to ignite the worst feelings we have. For several days this summer, I avoided social media: after the violence in Virginia in August, it seemed even friends were attacking each other online, saying things that shocked me and things they would likely not say in person. It’s one of the reasons I post this Fantastic Friday feature. Kindness is contagious, too—it’s just not as virulent as its opposite. My hope is that by sharing positive stories and observations, I can do my small part to make this world just a bit better.
So it brings happiness to me when I read a story like this one. In Minnesota, a 94-year old man named Keith Davison recently lost his wife of 66 years. After suffering the terrible loneliness that followed, he decided to reach out to others. He built an expansive in-ground pool and allows the neighborhood kids to swim in it all summer long (under their parents’ supervision, of course). Though he doesn’t have grandchildren of his own, the kids of the neighborhood have become like family.
While we’re not all lucky enough to have a neighbor who can build us a pool for the summer, the spirit of what he did is one I like to keep in the back of my mind. Mr. Davison solved a personal problem by reaching out to do something for others. Whether it’s holding the door for someone, letting someone merge into the lane without aggression, “paying it forward” at a drive-thru, or leaving a kindness rock for a complete stranger to find, small acts of kindness can be the thing that makes someone’s day, the thing they think about with a smile before falling asleep.