I am required to obtain 40 hours of continuing education every two years as part of maintaining my license as a psychotherapist. I attended a four hour workshop last Wednesday on the power of habit and how to take advantage of it.
The presenter was using anecdotes from her personal life and her private practice as a life coach to illustrate the teaching points and bring the principals she was presenting to life. We got a little off-topic, as is often the case in workshops, and she recounted an incident that happened to her last December. She had sent her son who was home from college for the winter break to what she thought was his dental appointment. When he got to the dentist, he did not have an appointment on that day, and she realized that she had inadvertently kept his reminder card from the year prior rather than the most current. There was another patient sitting in the lobby, also a Mom of a college student, and she overheard the receptionist discussing the dilemma. She graciously offered to let the presenter’s son have her teeth cleaning appointment for that day because she knew it would be six months before he would be back home and she could easily reschedule to another time. Even though this had happened many months ago, the presenter teared up a little as she talked about this incident and commented on how it really meant a lot to her that this stranger had helped her out and that it had motivated her to be aware of ways she could be more giving in her day to day activity. What also struck me was that it was a simple act of kindness, but it was now being appreciated by 50 other people because the presenter was sharing it with us. I would imagine that the patient from the lobby has not thought about it since, and yet she is still having an impact.
It was enough that the presenter and her son were helped out of a jam that day, but it is also worth considering how easy it is to be kind and to wonder at its unknown repercussions.