Yesterday I was outside the supermarket with Olivia. She was not co-operating with me (hello terrible twos) and in the process of me trying to juggle everything, her milkshake ended up as a casualty. It fell upturned on the floor, the contents of the cup forming a puddle that for a nearly-two-year-old is definitely worth crying over.

As this happened, my trolley, holding my parcels I had just collected from the post office, rolled away. I’m not one to walk away from a mess that I have created so I knelt down, trying to stop Olivia from launching herself at the milky puddle, and pulling tissues from my bag to try and clean it up, while keeping an eye on my rogue trolley.

I had it all under control but was amazed that no-one stopped to help, went to tell any of the supermarket staff or even gave me a sympathetic smile. It wasn’t until two of the staff members happened to walk past that I got some help and then a lovely older lady passed me some wipes so I could at least clean up myself and Olivia. Security then arrived to take over and we “happily” went on with our shopping.

As a person who will go out of her way to help others, I really struggle when other people don’t do the same. If I see a mum struggling with shopping I will ask her if she needs some help. If I see a child crying because they have lost their mum, I will wait with them until their mum comes back. If I see an old lady with a walking frame struggling to get onto an escalator, I will help her on. That’s just how I was raised.

And I think it pays to be nice. Firstly, it’s good for the soul. Don’t you feel good inside when you have done a good deed, no matter how small? Secondly, you don’t know the difference you can make in someone’s day. A smile could be just what that person needs to change their whole frame of mind.

Third, being nice is a powerful antidote to all the bad stuff that happens in our world. I personally think that the more good news stories we can create, whether that be global good news or the kind of story a person shares with their friend, the more we will drown out the bad and make a change in our world for the better.

Finally, as parents, we want to raise our kids to be the best they can be. To be good global citizens who can change the world. By role modelling what it is to be nice, we are setting them up for a future where they will be kind and generous and happy.

When I shared my little story about the spilt milkshake on Facebook I was overwhelmed with the response. My readers are obviously just the loveliest bunch of people! You probably are already out there spreading the love but if you just need a little inspiration here are 10 easy things you can do to be nice today and make a difference, no matter how small.

  1. Do a random act of kindness. If you see a mum with a young baby at a coffee shop, pay for her coffee when you are paying for yours. Or if you can’t afford to pay, just go up and tell her that she is doing an amazing job/has a gorgeous baby/looks radiant/something else that will make her day.
  2. Do something nice for your partner. Often our partners/family are the ones that cop it when we are having a bad day. It can do wonders for your relationships if you make an active effort to be nice.
  3. Send a friend a hand written card in the post. It is nice to receive something other than bills in the post and a handwritten card is so delightful
  4. Ask someone how they are going and actually mean it. It could be a retail shop assistant or another mum at school but take the time to have a real chat with somebody.
  5. Say yes to your kids. Is it any wonder that ‘no’ is one of the first words our kids say when we are constantly saying it to them? Try saying yes to something that you might normally dismiss. It could be a trip to the park after dinner or playing in the dirt outside. Just one thing that your kids love to do but you don’t normally make the time for in a busy day.
  6. Do something for a neighbour. Bring in their bin when you get yours or pop over with a piece of cake you have made or offer to take their kids to school. Being friendly with your neighbours is a great thing – you share a community and look out for each other. Small nice things over time will help build that relationship.
  7. If you have bought a product or service lately and you loved it, email the maker/owner/provider and let them know or leave a review on their website. This can really help a small business owner and just takes a few minutes in your day.
  8. Get your kids to make a card/drawing/small gift for their teacher. Just something to say thank you for all that you do for my child.
  9. Talk to your kids about what they can do to make a difference in someone’s day by being nice. The real change comes when we empower our kids to be better people and change the world.
  10. Be nice to yourself. Write down the things you love about yourself or just have a crack at not being so hard on yourself. If you aren’t nice to yourself, how can you expect anyone else to be nice to you?

Do you have anything to add to my list? What does being nice mean to you?

 

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