I enjoy watching nature. For example, this last year I adopted a mommy raccoon and her three little babies, and I have to admit that I’d leave peanuts out for them. We all have to eat. Am I right?
But, alas, the sight of these enormous rodents standing in my driveway like restless concert-goers waiting for the doors to open caused a little consternation for my neighbors who were afraid to walk their dogs near my little mob. So to keep peace , I decided to practice a more acceptable form of suburban wildlife care: I hung bird feeders from trees in my front yard.
The birds liked my kindness. They showed their appreciation by sharing with their less fortunate friends. The birds knocked the less tasty seeds out of the feeder and onto the ground so the chipmunks and squirrels could eat well, too. The chipmunks and squirrels were pleased with this act of kindness from their feathered counterparts. To share their bounty, they took excess seeds from their stash and planted them in my garden.
Kind acts, as well as selfish ones, create momentum. And both create their own “rewards.” Let’s say that you’re in a lane of traffic that merges with another. Aren’t you more willing to let someone in front of you without a fuss if another motorist has let you in without a fuss first? On the other hand, if you’ve had to sit there with your blinker on for 10 minutes while other motorists play butt-bumper with each other to box you out, aren’t you more likely be less charitable to motorists who want to jump in line in front of you?
Kindness usually results in more kindness; selfishness encourages more selfishness. If you want to get momentum for kindness, be kind to others.
But, if you want to give momentum to others, to foster traction for kindness in others who might not have received much kindness recently, you can try this radical idea: return their selfishness with your kindness.
As far as feeding the birds, how did they repay me personally for my care? They turned my Taurus into a turd-target. And if that’s the way I chose to view the situation, I would have stopped feeding them while securing my perimeter with very large, hungry cats. True, the birds returned my kindness with crap, but they paid forward my kindness to the chipmunks and the squirrels. And eventually, I became the indirect recipient of my own positive gifts to the birds…a garden full of unexpected beauty.
What type of momentum are you going to foster today?