Today is World Kindness Day!
Naturally we knew we wanted to blog about this day – kindness is at the heart of everything here at Rays of Sunshine. What we didn’t know was what to focus on, we see so much kindness every day and without it we wouldn’t be able to grant any wishes; from the kindness of those who fundraise and donate to us, to our volunteers who give their time and energy, to the companies who donate goods and services to help our funds go further……so much kindness that we didn’t know where to start!
And then last week we received some sad news: one of our wish children, who was due to go on a treat day, had suffered a stroke and wouldn’t be able to go. Now you might think that in our job we get used to news like this and, in a way, I suppose we do, but it never gets any less upsetting or any easier to hear that a family you’ve built a bond with are back in hospital, with their child having been through something no child should ever have to. The young girl was one of my wish children, so of course I responded to her mum’s email straight away – not with a great work of literature – just with a simple, heartfelt reply, letting her know that we were all thinking of them and sending all of our love. Exactly what anyone would have done – right? But when mum emailed me back with an update (happy news by the way, wish child is on the mend!), one line of that email really caught me off-guard:
“Thank you for your kindness.”
Had I been kind? Surely I had just reacted the way any of us would in that situation, just letting someone know that we were thinking of them. Then I thought about it a bit more; to me the email I sent was a natural and quite simple response to the situation. To the family, however, it was perhaps a reminder that their network of support stretched further than they had remembered, that there were so many people out there who cared and wanted the best for them, it was a little bit of kindness when they needed it most…..
…And do you know the best thing I realised reading that email? I did just react the way any of us would – and that means that we are all capable of bringing a little bit of light into people’s lives through small acts of everyday kindness.
Suddenly the focus of this blog became obvious; we do spend a lot of time celebrating the big acts of kindness that we experience as a charity – and rightly so! Without these, Rays of Sunshine wouldn’t be able to do the amazing work we do every day…but the little things can sometimes be overlooked, so we think it’s about time they were celebrated too! We have an amazing job here at Sunshine HQ, but tough times do still happen and I feel lucky to know that I have a team of incredibly kind people around me that will help me through those times. Knowing that our wish families also benefit from that kindness and support, not only while we’re working on their wish but long after as part of the Rays of Sunshine family, is a wonderful feeling.
It’s important to remember that kindness isn’t just the grand gestures that bowl everyone over with their generosity and get people talking. Kindness is a friendly smile when someone looks nervous, it’s making your colleague a cup of tea when they’re having a bad day, it’s a compliment that boosts someone’s confidence… it’s the email sent to remind someone that you’re thinking of them and you’re there for them. A small act of kindness may seem so simple to you, but you never know how much it might mean to the person receiving it.
So this World Kindness Day, let’s all get out there and make the world that little bit better in a million tiny ways:
Spread the love, spread the kindness, spread the sunshine.