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Reader's View: Do something to show kindness today, every day

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Today is World Kindness Day, a day that needs to be recognized now more than ever.

What many people are witnessing during the pandemic has been frustration, anger, short tempers, and more. We see signs at fast-food restaurants, “Be nice — these are the employees who showed up,” or in stores, “We’re doing the best we can.” But even the signs reminding us to be nice aren’t working. We’re seeing anything but kindness.

The Greek author Aesop wrote that, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” After a tough two and a half years, we need more acts of kindness toward individuals and our greater communities. We can make a difference to one person — and for the greater good.

This year, the theme of World Kindness Day is “Be Kind Whenever Possible.” The theme is taken from a Dalai Lama quote: “Be kind whenever possible. … It is always possible.”

So, what is possible? Focus on individuals. Send a kind note to someone. Bring someone who is struggling a meal or rake their leaves. Ask the cashier, clerk, or waitperson how they are doing and thank them for their work — especially if you can see the place is understaffed. Bring items to a food shelf, donate blood, place a book in a free library. Focus on the greater community. Encourage an elected official to fund important programs that bring people together or support them living in the community. It could be funding youth programs at the park, arts in the schools, in-home support for people with disabilities, or nonprofits that do good work.

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The important thing is to do something to make our communities a little kinder.

Sue Abderholden

St. Paul

The writer is executive director of NAMI Minnesota (namimn.org), the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a national nonprofit.

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