There’s a lot to be said about being kind. It is a quality that is contagious. When people treat me with kindness, I want to reciprocate. It reminds me of The Golden Rule: “Treat others how you want to be treated / Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It greatly impacted me at a young age; I remember learning the term in fourth grade. I wanted to share it with the rest of my classmates. I printed the golden rule out on sheets of paper and Mrs. Sylvester allowed me to pass them out. I wanted to share goodness and kindness with others.

Another thing that comes to mind about being kind is not boasting about it. A term I learned called quiet kindness. For example, if I decide to purchase a person’s meal or Starbucks drink behind me in the drive-thru line, I am not going to go around telling everyone my good deed to make myself feel good. Simply displaying an act of kindness is rewarding in the act itself – not the outcome of people knowing how “good” you are.

Thank you sign

This reminds me of the shopping cart theory. “The shopping cart is the ultimate litmus test for whether a person is capable of self-governing, the post states. To return the shopping cart is an easy, convenient task and one which we all recognize as the correct, appropriate thing to do. To return the shopping cart is objectively right. There are no situations other than dire emergencies in which a person is not able to return their cart. Simultaneously, it is not illegal to abandon your shopping cart. Therefore, the shopping cart presents itself as the apex example of whether a person will do what is right without being forced to do it. No one will punish you for not returning the shopping cart, no one will fine you, or kill you for not returning the shopping cart, you gain nothing by returning the shopping cart. You must return the shopping cart out of the goodness of your own heart. You must return the shopping cart because it is the right thing to do. Because it is correct. A person who is unable to do this is no better than an animal, an absolute savage who can only be made to do what is right by threatening them with a law and the force that stands behind it. The Shopping Cart is what determines whether a person is a good or bad member of society.” Throughout time, people have torn the theory apart. I think Keith Sobus says it best, “The central flaw of the Shopping Cart Theory lies in its assumption that moral good is primarily defined by societal expectations. While it is true that many people follow societal norms, this does not guarantee or reveal genuine moral character. Simply adhering to what society says one “ought” to do does not reflect a deep sense of personal ethics but rather a conformity that allows proponents of the theory to prematurely pat themselves on the back.”

All theories and opinions aside, I think the shopping cart theory represents a good example of showing an act of quiet kindness. You are not required to return the cart, but if you do, you are essentially being considerate to others around. Your cart will not roll away and hit another car, and the cart corral worker will be appreciative that the majority of carts are in the corral.

With this year’s kindness wish, every time I experience an act of kindness, I plan to reciprocate to another and keep paying it forward!