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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • It's a virus

  • It’s the season for flu, colds and other yucky stuff!
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  • It’s the season for flu, colds and other yucky stuff!
     
    Even with dedicated effort to keep it at bay, it seems to creep up on us anyway and generally spreads so quickly. I recently read about another virus that is extremely contagious. It’s a good virus though, one that changes everyone for the better. It’s called kindness.
     
    The director of Pay It Forward, Catherine Ryan Hyde, along with a gentleman named David Gaz, are working on a documentary called the Good Virus. In a preview for their project they discuss the concept of paying it forward and how kindness can spread astronomically. If you saw the movie Pay It Forward, you may recall the young boy who is given an assignment in class to “think of an idea to change the world-and put it into ACTION.” It was a year-long assignment. The young boys project was a pay-it-forward pyramid. He determined that if he did a favor for someone, telling them he was paying it forward, and asked them to do the same for three other people, and so on, that soon the world would change, for the better. If kindness was shared in this way, Catherine Ryan Hyde concludes, eventually at least 500 million people would be infected with kindness. To make it less overwhelming, Catherine suggests that the acts of kindness can be done anytime in a lifetime.
     
    I recently saw a video on YouTube called “Say Something Nice.” I encourage you to take a look at it. It brought tears to my eyes to observe the simple acts of kindness. A podium was set up in the middle of a square in New York. On the podium was a plaque that read, “Say Something Nice.” Some people walked by, others came close, seeming to want to say something, but hesitant to speak in front of hundreds of people, others went right up to the megaphone attached to the podium and said some simple kind words. After they shared something nice, they seemed to feel so good; they laughed or smiled, some even had a little bounce in their step as they continued on. When the kind words were directed toward someone in particular, they too had a smile or a laugh.
     
    Wikipedia.com defines kindness as a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It’s an authentic, heart-felt nice. Not long ago, I read a Facebook message. “Someone ahead of me at Caribou today, paid for my coffee.” Simple thoughtfulness.
     
    At this time of year, compassion seems to be on the forefront of our minds with opportunities to help one another through giving trees, donations, or adopt-a-family programs. Kindness can be offered any time of year. Simple phrases like ~ You rock! You are amazing! You are loved! are powerful. Are you infected? Spread the virus!

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