Perfecting kindness, an admirable goal for each of us. I’m working on it. When I think about it, there are examples of kindness all around me. My favorite kindness is the surprising variety. It usually arrives in the form of a look, a few words, time given, the simplest of actions. Some mornings I take my 16-year-old daughter to school and there’s a staff member whose morning charge is to keep us parents moving. He’s got a smile as wide as the street, waving hello and exuding joy, pure joy. I don’t know his name or his story, but he makes me happy everytime I see him. We call him Mr. Kindness.
We live in a world that is full of complexities and challenges. Tackling them is big work, time consuming and thorny. At United Way, building community by helping people care for one another is what we do. It requires volunteer leadership, collaboration and understanding of our rich diversity. It’s also about opening our hearts, and our minds, even when it’s a bit uncomfortable.
Research shows that giving and receiving kindness has positive mental and physical health benefits. Being a founder of Connect Miami, a community-led effort to encourage new connections, a deeper understanding and appreciation of others, widespread kindness and increased empathy, is an honor.
I’ve challenged myself to take the #ConnectMiami305 challenge and I invite you to do the same, today, right now. I’m going to pull over the next time I take my daughter to school and meet Mr. Kindness — stay tuned for more on him.
The example for our children and for ourselves is an imperative. We can all do something, anything, big or small…to be more caring, more accepting, more embracing. Join us in building a kindness movement in our city. Go to www.connectmiami.org and check out all of the activities that will occur during the last 10 days of May during Connect Miami’s 10 Days of Connection or see ideas to plan your own.
Claudia Grillo is the Chief Operating Officer at the United Way of Miami-Dade.