Most, if not all, of us have had something offered to us which would fall under the category of an everyday kindness. Maybe it was someone offering us their seat on the train, or being allowed to go first through the door, coffee paid for at the coffee shop, a stranger offering us a piece of gum at the bus stop, and the list continues. These actions are commonplace, and so are rejections of these kindnesses.
There are plenty of reasons these gifts are rejected. It may be a mindset of, “I am fine, I don’t need such and such,” or, “I can do it on my own, do I look like I can’t handle it on my own?” These are just two of a plethora of reasons could be given, but bottom line, the majority of the reasons for rejecting fall under the flag of pride. I know I have been offered things before, and I have said no to them for one reason or another. Interesting thing is, when I offer to someone else, it can hurt my feelings when they say no to my offer.
In my first Grade 4 class, every Tuesday and every Thursday I arrive to be given fistfuls of food from their lunches. I have been given a hot dog, crumbled chips, dry noodles, candies, nuts, cookies, some sort of shredded beef jerky (or at least I think it is what it was…), and other tasty treats. When the children first started offering these small gifts to me in the class, I felt bad taking them. I mean, I can go to the store and buy myself a tonne of candy, and treats, why should I take the candy from the kids when they offer. I never said no, but I did feel badly at times. Then I started looking at their faces when I accepted the candy. They were overjoyed to have given me this gift. I realized accepting these presents wasn’t about my need to have them, it was about the joy the giver experienced. If I had told them they couldn’t give me these things, they A) wouldn’t have understood why, and B) felt terrible they had been rejected.
When you accept the kindnesses of a friend, acquaintance, or stranger, you are not taking charity, it is not welfare, and it is not a matter of pride. When you accept these gifts you are being generous. Their generosity is found in what they are willing to give you, and yours is found in giving a smile, and a grateful thank you. It also (should) goes without saying, be willing to pass when you can on to others. It is a blessing to give, and to receive.