The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder, and soon it will be a brand new year filled with new challenges and adventures to navigate. But before it begins, many will celebrate the end of the calendar year with the holiday season – which, at its core, puts great emphasis on the act of giving.
In modern times, this has been highly commodified into the act of giving material gifts. There are presents under trees that were purchased on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, homemade sweet treats and crafts we pass out to friends and classmates, 8 nights of candles and games with chocolate coins and presents, and of course, socks. There are always socks!
At Joseph Maley Foundation, we have a bit of a tradition of trying to remember what giving is truly about: kindness. The world needs more of it, and since we devote our lives here to promoting kindness all year round, we like to reflect on what giving kindness really means to us, what the kindness our donors give to us really does for the youth we support, and celebrate and share the ways that giving kindness has become a part of our individual lives.
For this week’s blog, our staff members have shared ways they give kindness and times when kindness was given to them that they will never forget. It is what this time of year is really about, and the greatest gift anyone could ever receive. We hope you are inspired to give a little kindness yourself this year, and every year!
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” — Mark Twain.
Erica Christie, Director of Education:
“One way that our family shows kindness each year is by supporting foster families during the holiday time. We enjoy picking out toys, books, and clothes for foster children in hopes of brightening their holidays and helping ease the financial burden on families. Partnering with The Villages each year to spread kindness and bring joy has become a treasured family tradition. “
“It is the characteristic of the magnanimous man to ask no favor but to be ready to do kindness to others.” — Aristotle
Stephanie Becher, Education Manager:
“Our family gives kindness when we visit our elderly neighbors, bring them food, and talk with them often. During the beginning of the pandemic, we chalked their driveway and bought them treats and flowers. We feel that it probably brings us just as much, if not more joy than it does to them!”
“Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Caroline Barlow, Coordinator:
“One example of giving kindness I recently experienced was having my new neighbor offer to watch my dog while I moved into my apartment. One example of a way I have given kindness is learning about a friends new dietary restrictions and baking them some treats with those in mind.”
“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” — Steve Maraboli
Julie Friedman, Associate Executive Director:
“We have been the recipients of extraordinary kindness throughout our daughter Lily’s life. People have stepped up to help us with any possible need we have including childcare, meals, financial support, and emotional support. Raising a child with a disability takes a true village. We have been blessed many times over with the care and love from so many. “
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” — Mother Teresa
Kelly Bradbury, Education Manager
“On the way home from a very difficult day, my friend drove by our house and snapped a photo of our lighted pine tree to let us know that it’s beauty touched her and we share a moment knowing that looking at it tells a story of a Christmas past and it reminds us of someone who we miss very much.”
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” — Scott Adams
Jane Seib, Curriculum Manager:
“My family experienced two life changing events recently. My husband’s mom passed away from cancer. She was diagnosed just a month earlier. And we had a baby, our fifth child. We also moved into a new home in between those events.
So many people showed us kindness. Friends, family, and our school and work communities gave us dinners and desserts, diapers, gift cards, sympathy cards, cards of congratulations, flowers, coloring books and toys. My parents welcomed us into their home while we sold and bought our houses. We were on the receiving end of many many prayers and hugs. My husband and my work families graciously allowed us time away and picked up the slack. We were extended life sustaining kindness. There is no way to overstate how important it has been for the health and well being of my husband, our kids, and me!”
“Kindness is like snow- It beautifies everything it covers.” – Kahlil Gibran
Courtney Basso, Events and Service Manager:
“I am fortunate to have a strong group of friends in my adopted hometown of St. Louis. These women have been a part of my life for the last 20 years and are a constant source of kindness in my life. Even though we live far apart, we make every effort to stay involved in each other’s lives, through all of our ups and downs. Their kindness and affection have made me a stronger person.”
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” — Aesop
Aubrey Wiest, Communications Manager:
“I’m a great lover of writing, and one of my most cherished possessions are the written letters that friends and family have sent to me over the years. I keep them all in a small box in my home, and will go through them every other year or so. Those letters, whether they’re from past or present friends, old acquaintances, or beloved family members, always bring a smile to my face. A new letter in my mailbox is like receiving a small treasure that I know I’ll keep with me for all the years to come.”
“Treat people with kindness.” – Harry Styles
How are you showing kindness this holiday season? Let us know on social media!
Blog written and researched by Communications Associate, Lauren Maley