When I was a little boy, my dad was my hero. His love, support, and protection surrounded me as I grew up. Other men also contributed to my life. The Los Gatos, California police officer who would occasionally drive down our dead-end street and stop to talk with me was always a special occasion. Our pastor at Calvary Baptist Church did the same thing as he stood in the church lobby and bent down to shake my small hand as all the people filed out of the sanctuary after a Sunday service. I find it interesting that I went on to become a police officer, pastor, and father. Kindness molds a life. A lack of kindness dismembers its potential.
I want to leave behind a similar legacy of kindness that the policeman, our pastor, and my father gave to me. A legacy of kindness applies to all relationships in life. Simple acts of kindness in an impersonal and at times cruel world can become a forging moment in someone’s life. Kindness is practical. It is not held just in thought. It must become an action.
For example, I enjoy going out of my way to tip people who don’t expect a tip. In Oregon where I live there is no self-service gas. Attendants pump our gas. I tip them and thank them each time I fill up. Yesterday, I went to a car wash, and the two young guys toweling off my car each got a decent tip. So did all four men who did my oil change last week.
I want my presence and acts of kindness to produce joy and connection with other people, just like it was when I was a little guy and a cop stopped to say hi, or when my pastor bent down to shake my hand or when my Dad said, “Son, how about a milkshake?” and we hopped in his pickup for a drive to town.