Be Prepared To Be Kind


We live in an area where we can see whales from the shore, but often need binoculars to do so. There are usually people around us who don’t have any. We have pick up inexpensive pairs to share with anyone who doesn’t have them. Recently someone said, “How kind. I love that you are prepared to be kind.”

Countering the societal norm of every man for himself takes the effort to choose to, doing the work and practice. The cynical will look for what you are looking to get out of the act of kindness. There is a reward for being kind, there is an internal cup that gets filled with each interaction. When someone asks me why I’m kind to someone deemed unworthy, this is what I tell them. It fills both our cups. Their physical need and my spiritual one. They won’t understand it, but a seed will be planted

Kindness attitude is a choice, not always an easy one. It does not come naturally or instinctively to everyone. If you can’t be kind, don’t be unkind. Kindness is a practice. The world is in a fire of rage, kindness is the tool to fight the fire. Be prepared. How do we prepare to be kind?

Being kind is a mental choice made before you are in any situation. When we are in a hurry and someone is driving slow or digging for change in the check out line, it is easier to be annoyed than understanding. When you are in situations that someone is being annoying, stop and ask yourself, “How would I want to be treated if I was in that situation?” Do that. Kindness doesn’t always come in big bites. Most are small acts that change a moment or an attitude. People won’t always be grateful, be kind anyway. Firefighters don’t learn to put out a fire on the job, they go to school and learn how to choose the best tool for a situation. This turns chaos into choreographed actions. If you don’t know how to be kind, ask a kind person or watch how others succeed at it.

Being kind is a physical choice. For us, having the binoculars that allow others to share the thrill of seeing the whales is a physical way to be prepared to be kind. We saw a need and filled it. It presented a place to be kind. Making the effort to find the binoculars, spend our money on them, and offer them freely to strangers around us takes effort. We offer and are not offended if people choose to use them or not. Having jumper cables available and knowing how to use them, keeping a few dollars in your wallet, sending a note of encouragement or a simple “hello” are physical ways to be kind. Firefighters come with a truck full of tools. Each one has a function for every fire. Water on gasoline makes it worse. Don’t force yourself on people. Make the offer and let it be. Not being called on isn’t the kindness, making the offer is. Wish them well and go on.

Being kind is an attitude choice. Having a tool box of kind attitudes and comments are great ways to be prepared to be kind. To the overwhelmed cashier who is struggling, “I appreciate you being here for me. Thank you.” can get them through a situation. If you don’t know what to say, ask. There are often times when I will say, “I don’t know how I can help. What do you need?” There won’t always be a clear answer, but the question is a kindness. Firefighters don’t fight every fire. If there is no one in danger and putting the fire is too hot, they move to preventative actions. Protecting surrounding property, preventing the fire to spread, staying to make sure it burns completely out. Not everyone will be willing to accept your kindness. Don’t let that stop you from being kind the next time.

Being kind can be overwhelming. There is too much kindness. Know your boundaries. There is too much giving of time and resources. If you get to the point of feeling taken advantage of, or suffering yourself, evaluate your boundary. We buy binoculars at second hand sales, we aren’t stocking up on $100 binoculars. When a firefighter arrives on the scene they have preset boundaries. If going into a burning building will cost a life, they don’t go in. They cut a ditch to keep the fire contained. Their preference is to save everyone. There are situations when they have to choose not to risk anyone else. It’s sad, but it’s necessary to be there for the next need. It may not be easy, but it is necessary.

Kindness is its own reward. Being mindful and planning to be available to be kind doesn’t take anything away from the action. Looking for accolades or reciprocation changes the action from serving to self. If you walk away without an acknowledgement and you feel used, check that you didn’t allow your boundary to be moved, then check your attitude. Be true to your feelings. If you’re disappointed, look at why. Firefighters sometimes face the emotional backlash for people who lost property. In the moment, they are screamed at for how they handled the situation. They have call review to look at how each situation was handled to make the next call better. They don’t let the backlash stick to them. I asked a firefighter how he handles it. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “That’s on them, it’s not about me. It gets easier and easier to let it go.”

The best fire fought is the one never started. More kindness in the world is a prevention measure. Take time today to be proactive to put the good into the world you want to get out of it. Like those binoculars, bring the thrill of the far away thing into your sights.




By Laura

Laura S. Tarasoff is poet, writer, explorer, and believer in people. Laura lives on Whidbey Island, Washington. Whenever she can she walks the beach looking for agates, hoping for whale sightings, or takes on the splendor of the eagles and hawks filling the prairie sky. She enjoys a terrific burger, a rolling laugh, and getting to know people.Laura hopes that her words will bring hope and encouragement to get through the hardest parts of life.

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