Acts of Love and Kindness

As some of you know, my daughter attends a class on Sunday in which a special education teacher and several aides teach a faith formation class for children with special needs.  It is a model program that is beginning to expand to other churches in our area.

Banner for Special Needs Faith Formation.  The children's handprints surrounds the face of Jesus.

Banner for Special Needs Faith Formation. The children’s handprints surrounds the face of Jesus.

One thing my daughter’s teacher does at the start of every year is give every student a little book, the type that holds photographs.  What’s amazing is the content of the book.

Every week the students are given an index card to place inside the book.  Each index card has a picture on it representing the theme for the week, based off the readings that will be proclaimed in church that week.

The purpose of the card is for parents to write an act of love that their child performed during the week.  Then during class, the teacher shares each child’s act of love with the class.

An index card with a hand-drawn picture from my daughter's faith formation class. The picture of two children reminds them of how much they are loved.

An index card with a hand-drawn picture from my daughter’s faith formation class. The picture of two children reminds them of how much they are loved.

Years ago when we first were handed the little book we thought, what would we write?

Our daughter is autistic, so she doesn’t share her world easily.  She doesn’t give hugs, open doors for others, or volunteer for anything.  She doesn’t give compliments because she doesn’t speak.

How would we define an act of love when we look through her eyes?

That’s when Al and I realized we needed to go beyond external examples that are seen by most people.

We needed to see her for who she is, and how much joy she can bring.

Our daughter's smile can be very infectious. She is clearly enjoying herself as she relaxes in a swimming pool.

Our daughter’s smile can be very infectious. She is clearly enjoying herself as she relaxes in a swimming pool.

The teachers at the Sunday school class are very kind.  They always tell me they look forward to reading  Mija’s card.

You see, I decided to write a thank-you to her every week.

I thank-her for making someone smile, for being able to enjoy her infectious laughter, for sitting still in her medical appointments, for simply being who she is.  I thank her for being our daughter.

As a result, we now have several books with cards carrying concrete reminders of how our daughter is able to spread love and kindness.  We can look back on them with very fond memories.

There are times when we're not sure what makes our daughter laugh. We're just happy to see that she does this!

There are times when we’re not sure what makes our daughter laugh. We’re just happy to see that she does this!

So now, I want to ask you to think about the people around you.  It’s so easy to focus on negative things that someone can say or do.

Why not focus instead on the acts of love and kindness that others do?

What acts of love and kindness surround you every day?

I can assure you, you’ll begin to see the world in a different way when you acknowledge acts of love and kindness rather than acknowledging the negative ways that people treat one another, or speak to one another.

Sure, everyday life is not always kind.  I know that.  I see the looks that people give my child.  There are many cruel realities. Still, I don’t have a lot of time on this earth (who does?) to spend that time fostering negative, pessimistic thoughts and actions.

This simple exercise to look for acts of love and kindness every week has taught my husband and me to focus on the good that our daughter can exude.

It has taught us that we can look at our little  household and see acts of love and kindness reflected everyday in one another.

…and as you probably know, love and kindness beget love and kindness…

Al and Mija walk hand-in-hand down a hospital corridor as she gets ready for a test. She finds great comfort in holding her father's hand.

Al and Mija walk hand-in-hand down a hospital corridor as she gets ready for a test. She finds great comfort in holding her father’s hand.

Pause a moment.  Look around you.  What acts of love and kindness do you see every day?  Don’t focus on the negative.  

Take another pause, especially before you do or say something to someone else.

What acts of love and kindness will you perform today?

Al and Mija share a moment of love and kindness.

Al and Mija share a moment of love and kindness.

Special Notes!

– Thank-you, to Ms. Kay for teaching us all about the “Acts of Love” movement!

– To find out more about Bloggers for Peace, click the badge!

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About

I've always enjoyed writing and finally decided it was time to blog! As part of my profession I write every day, but I'm now trying to take the time to write creatively. My family and friends have been very encouraging as there is little that is written down in the way of a family chronicle. This is a favorite topic of mine! In addition to family history, I write about life, family, friends and faith. My husband is a full-time parent to our special needs daughter. I’ve explored this topic, too. I also enjoy music, crocheting, reading and relaxing with my family. I hope you enjoy what I have to offer!

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Posted in 2013, Autism, B4Peace, Faith, Family, Peaceful, Personal, Religion, Special Needs, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized
19 comments on “Acts of Love and Kindness
  1. Kozo says:

    Cathy,
    This is so inspirational. I love how you choose to spend your time focusing on the acts of kindness that surround us. I love the photo of Al and Mija walking down the hallway hand in hand. You are truly blessed. Thank you for sharing your blessings with us. {{{Hugs]}} Kozo

    • Cathy G says:

      Thank-you, Kozo! I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for a while. I’m happy that it inspires you! Yes, we are blessed…and we are grateful to have joy in our lives that we can share with others.
      🙂 – Cathy

      p. s. Yes, the picture of the two of them walking down the hallway is very recent; it’s become a favorite of mine as it tells me so much about the two of them. God bless.

  2. Gemma says:

    Thanks, Cathy 😉

  3. jennyelaine says:

    http://aroundeverycornerat.blogspot.com/2013/02/valentines-day-challenge.html

    I love it when others spend time talking about what real love it….thank you!! I’ve left my addition to the subject here too. Blessings!!

  4. scrapydo says:

    This is so inspirational to me also! Thanks for sharing again. I think this small book each year is a treasure. 🙂

  5. djmrakiey says:

    I like this very much, so much love & generosity of spirit.

  6. Northern Narratives says:

    This post truly inspires me to focus my day on kindness and love. Thanks.

  7. Vikas Yadav says:

    I found it Very Inspiring..and would try to implement it in my life.

  8. Sue says:

    Just beautiful Cathy. I shared it on Twitter per my alter ego, @nouturnsinlife and on my Facebook page, Village of Support. Glad to have found you through B4Peace.

    • Cathy G says:

      Hello, Sue! I’m pleased to meet you! I must admit some personal obligations have recently kept me from weekly writing – but I hope to be posting again this week! Thank-you for passing my post forward and for stopping by!
      – Cathy

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