Little Lessons: Kindness makes the world go round

I posted a story on my experience with extravagant kindness on my facebook earlier this week.

I was on the platform this morning waiting for my train, when a young lady stopped beside me and asked if she could go in before me…

“So that I can get a seat for you,” she said.

Of course I obliged. When the train doors opened, she went in and asked for the nearest seat for me. Everything was so smooth it felt like I had boarded the first class cabin of an SMRT train.

It makes me think that kindness can and should be so extravagant.

I never expect to be treated like a queen, but when I do receive such treatment, it makes me wanna pass it on, spread the word, seed a culture.

That’s the power of exemplary role-modelling in everyday life. It blooms like a flower of a thousand colours in an otherwise dry and dusty land…

Naturally, it received quite a few comments.

A friend mentioned that the nice gesture really is “something worth teaching our kids to do the same for others.” Another said that it gave them hope for our nation.

Hope indeed. I travelled the rest of the journey with my heart as light as a feather, feeling blessed and inspired.

It’s funny how a little act can have such profound impact. Like a little pebble thrown into water, the ripples spread large and wide.

I hope to be able to do the same for others with needs, just to use my eyes to see that need, and to open my mouth to offer help.

Truly values like kindness is best caught, not taught. Though we may emphasise the importance of kindness to our children, they will only catch it if they see it in action, in our lives as well as others.

Did you learn something new or inspiring this week? Do share in the comments or better still, link up!

Also linking up with San’s Talkative Thursdays.

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Singapore, are you kind to pregnant women?

My tummy started to show even before I hit 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Now at around 22 weeks, one can say that I’m erm, protruding nicely.

Getting seats on the bus, which is my usual choice of commute to work, has not been a problem as it’s usually not crowded. MRT trains, on the other hand, with the higher likelihood of crowding and resulting invisibility, people snoozing or playing on their phones, have proven to be a challenge.

For all three of my pregnancies so far, the kindest people have been those of a kindred spirit – women. I like to think that it’s because women understand the weight that a pregnant woman carries, because we’ve either been through it ourselves or we’ve heard close friends and family share about it.

The general sense of awareness is there; even semi-elderly ladies have lent a hand or given up a seat or two. These, I feel most embarrassed to accept, but my frail efforts to decline their goodwill generally go ignored.

Men, on the other hand, are prone to shove their bags or shoulder into you when they are rushing into or out of the train. Those who are ┬áseated also tend to look down and not make eye contact, so I can’t even tell if they know a pregnant woman is in the cabin or not.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I’m tempted to stick my belly under their noses and see if they squirm.

And sometimes, just sometimes, they will get it and get up.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to demonise the entire other half of the population. And I do suspect that these guys who tend not to give up their seats either don’t have a clue that pregnant ladies need them, or they don’t even know you’re pregnant. (Or perhaps they’re afraid of getting slapped from wrongly offering their seats to ladies well-endowed in the belly.)

In other words, they could either be oblivious to the needs around them, afraid of making a boo-boo, or purely unsympathetic. (Am I making a fair statement here? I would really love the hear the other side of the story.)

Or…as how my friend put it, “Women empathise.”

By the way, in case you need some tips on how a pregnant woman looks like or carries herself, here are the telltale signs:

  • she usually walks with a duck waddle
  • she usually has one hand holding her belly
  • she usually isn’t wearing high heels (ballet flats or Crocs are likely choices of footwear)
  • she usually is eyeing your seat

Jokes aside, the point of this post is really for us to take a good look at ourselves…Are we looking out for people in need? Are we willing to peel our phones off our faces and look around every so often?

Since being on the receiving end of kindness for my three rounds of pregnancy, I find myself more aware of such acts of grace, and am keen to pay it forward. Maybe that’s one of the driving factors behind the acts of kindness we see around us too.

But what do you think? How have your own experiences been thus far?

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