Five Kind Things Meme

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I got tagged by Stefanie at So Many Books on March 13th for this meme. The meme is in the form of three lists of kind things: things I do for myself; things I do for my closest friend, partner, or child; and things I have done for a stranger. I hadn’t been keeping up on my blog reading at the time, so I didn’t notice I had been tagged. Of course, once I noticed, I was deep in the middle of too much activity and couldn’t find the time to think on this.

Now that I’ve had a little time to think, I am a little saddened. I realized that I haven’t been doing things for me as much as I had formerly. Also, I realized I don’t really have a “closest” friend, partner, or child. So, I’m going to twist the meme a little. I’ll change the first list to things I have done for myself (and want to do again), and I’ll change the second one to things I hope to do for my partner (once I’m lucky enough to find her).

Things for me

  1. Get regular sleep – it is amazing how differently our brains and bodies function when we are sleeping at a decent time of day for a reasonable duration. Ironically, I am writing this at 2:30am
  2. Exercise regularly – as Stephanie pointed out, exercise for the sake of exercise is a bit empty, but a purpose added in makes it worthwhile. Weekend bike rides into the hillside areas looking for scenery: well that’s another story.
  3. Attend church – my salvation does not require that I be in any certain place (I was, after all, reconciled to God in the Arctic, hundreds of miles from any city) but, there are aspects of a healthy life that come from time in a functional church group. The best group I’ve found here is a bit of a trek, so I often choose not to go. Also, Japan doesn’t have any deep cultural aversion to Sunday activities, which means I find myself presented with the struggle between activities (international exchanges, cultural events, etc.) and church.
  4. Seek quiet – deep concentration is rarely achieved with background activity going on. For example, trying to write a well-worded blog entry while letting the TV run in the background creates a confused mind.
  5. Study – this is one that I have never stopped doing. I always want to be learning. I have a peculiar curiosity inside me. Understanding things gives me joy. I also love helping others learn, and I just can’t do that if I don’t know things. I would lump “experiencing things” in here. For example, going to the sand throwing festival was a chance to learn more about cultural connections to farming the land.

Things for my partner

  1. Remind them how important they are to me – I don’t want her mind to be troubled with worries about how I feel. And this is most important when things aren’t going well. If we have some disagreement, there would be a chance of that muddling things.
  2. Support her interests – even if she wants to pursue something that doesn’t pique my interests; I would hate for her to become some odd clone of me.
  3. Surprise her – not the “coming home late at night drunk and realizing it was our anniversary and we had plans” type of surprise. Maybe the “convinced a group of friends to learn her favorite song to sing on her birthday” kind of surprise.
  4. Be strong – I think this is the desirable middle ground between “overbearing” and “mamby pamby”. Someone who helps set direction in the partnership is better than one who demands everything or one who floats hither and thither.
  5. Be kind – observing myself and others, I have noticed that we say or do mean things almost at random. Life would be better without all that, don’t you think?

Things for a stranger

  1. The first thing that jumped to mind for this category happened at a small train line that terminates in Kuwana. A very elderly man who was having trouble moving and seeing was desperate for help to get down the oddly shaped stairs as throngs rushed around him. I looked at him and he reached out for my arm. Being mindful of my train leaving in a few minutes, I took the time to guide him down – at his pace. I wondered why he reached out for me; perhaps he knew I would help.
  2. Nodding and greeting people when I’m walking. This is proper in Japan, but it seems to be fairly rare. Perhaps it is a sign of the times. I also did it when I lived on the East Coast in America. It was shocking how many people there were reluctant to respond in kind. Our modern world can be very isolating; and I think we need to remind each other that we are connected and that we care.
  3. Picking things up when they are dropped. We can tell people that they dropped something, but it takes about the same amount of time to just pick it up and hand it to them. I think this is serving them better. Strangely, this sometimes makes Japanese people uncomfortable. (I think there are religious reasons for this, but that would be a long post by itself.) I sometimes do this when people drop money, but they usually start out with that “is he scrounging my money” look on their face. I always try to hand that over quickly to make my intentions clear.
  4. A couple months ago a young lady’s car was stalled on our main highway. She had called JAF (like AAA) to come help, but I offered to push her car off the road to reduce the danger level. She couldn’t believe someone would offer such a service. The car was tiny, so it wasn’t a big deal. I did have to teach her how to get a dead car into neutral and keep the wheel lock off.
  5. Teaching! This is one of the greatest services we can provide others. Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime. If we run around doing things for people, they are happy for a bit. If we are teaching people valuable skills or ways of thinking, then long after we are gone our efforts can be bearing fruit.

OK! I did it! Well, with a few changes. I won’t tag anyone, but if you are reading this, I encourage you to give it a try. Make sure you link back to this post or add a comment with your meme linked, so I can read your five things.

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5 Responses to “Five Kind Things Meme”

  1. Stefanie Says:

    Wonderful post! Thanks for playing. When you find that partner, she will be a very lucky woman. Your five things for strangers are wonderful. I remember one of my first winters here in Minnesota my husband and I got stuck in the snow on the side of the road and a nice man pulled over, grabbed a snow shovel out of the back of his truck, and cleared the snow enough for us to get the car back on the rode. We were amazed that a complete stranger would stop and do something like that for us. And I hope you manage to frequently repeat the kindnesses for yourself 🙂

  2. bal Says:

    Nice to meet you.
    I had a look at blog.
    Please link to this site.
    http://www.geocities.jp/yuyuifirst/

  3. verbivore Says:

    This was just great. And I love the story of the old man grabbing your arm. I am glad he knew you’d help him.

    Studying and learning is a wonderful gift to ourselves. Absolutely.

  4. fightingwindmills Says:

    Bikkuri, I didn’t comment on this when you first posted it because honestly, I felt overcome with emotion. This is such a beautiful post. I can’t thank you enough for sharing those thoughts, especially the story of the man who needed help at the train station.

    I want to do this meme. Tomorrow is my day to make a post with the letter k, so “kindness” will be perfect.

  5. Letter K for Kindness « Fighting Windmills Says:

    […] friend Bikkuri inspired me to write about kindness when I read his kindness meme last month. This meme consists of three […]

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