The currency of kindness

At the weekend, we went camping.

We were all set up, people were arriving all around us, it was sunny and hot, people were happy.

Two families arrived to pitch up next to us, nothing unusual there. It quickly became apparent that the no one in the either family had any idea how to put up their tents…

Now, what do you do….you don’t want to overstep the mark, jump in, be all eager…after all, the parents in the families were trying valiantly to work it out, there were two big tattooed Dads on the case, hammers were flying, the entire contents of the cars were neatly arranged on the grass ready to set up.

After 20 minutes or so my other half couldn’t take it any more and had to offer to help.

That offer of help changed the entire weekend. Scott is a very practical person, so soon the tents were all sorted and we went off to walk the dog. (It turns out that the tents had been borrowed at the last minute to get their children away for a couple of days, which explained the struggle to pitch them.)

A little later, one of the ladies came over and thanked us for our help. I mean, she was truly thankful. She hugged us and said that it was lovely that someone had offered help, that it was such a nice change to be openly welcomed.

You see, these families were Polish.

Two young Polish families, all who work seven days a week, one lady being a nurse.

I felt sad as she openly said often people are not so welcoming and it can make her miss home very much. She was so grateful for a simple act of kindness that it made me realise how rare those acts must be. Which made me sadder still.

In the early hours of the following morning I was woken by noise outside, I heard raised voices but couldn’t see anything.

I found out the whole story next morning.

Another camper had taken exception to the fact that our neighbours were ‘making noise’ and barged into their tent, pushing and shoving and being very aggressive. She was drunk and abusive.

Our neighbours weren’t being noisy. They were laughing and eating together, the children were playing, that is all.

But they are Polish.

And that was enough.

Kindness (as I know I bang on about sometimes) means everything. It makes such a HUGE difference.

I can be guilty of wanting to see everything through rose tinted glasses sometimes, I know that, but if we were all just a little kinder, a little more tolerant and accepting, surely that would make a BIG difference to the world we are raising our kids in.

I was proud of my teenage boys this weekend. They were polite and genuine, quick to help and happily tolerant of the small children next door, in fact some of the adults in surrounding tents could have learned an thing or two from watching them I’m happy to say. They will be good men. Kind men.

So next time you hear someone in your community speaking Polish, Greek, Italian, whatever, I hope you think of this story and share a warm smile with them.

We are all people, all just the same beneath our pink, brown, black, or golden skin.

So be nice.

It matters.


Header image courtesy of Javier Orti

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