Small Acts of Kindness: What to Offer Others

The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all others, charity.

Benjamin Franklin

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Small Acts of Kindness: Front Porch Friends

By Kathy Cheek

I had finished watering the pots of flowers on my front porch and just sat down in one of the chairs by the small bistro table. A soft breeze carried the scent of flowers across the way and I noticed my neighbor had walked outside and was going to her mailbox for the day’s mail. I called out to her and asked if she wanted to join me sitting on the porch.

Joann walked towards me and said in a half question half statement, “You actually sit on your front porch?”

“Yes, I do.”

She joined me on the porch where we chatted a little while and then she had to leave to check on her mother at the nearby nursing home. It was good to catch up with my neighbor, even if it isn’t as often as we’d like.

Many of our visits are brief encounters as one of us pulls in or out of our driveway or find the other one doing yardwork, or me on my way back from a walk with my hair a mess. I am often a mess when Joann pulls in or out as she catches me sweaty doing yard work or returning from a long walk around the neighborhood.

But this time, we indulged ourselves and sat on my front porch. We weren’t the Waltons in the hills of Virginia with their big inviting front porch where their large family and various neighbors often gathered. Instead, we are – American suburbia… or, Dallas, Texas suburbia to be exact.

Joann travels often with her job and we rarely have time to visit, which means the opportunity to relax on the front porch was a big deal. I could tell she needed this relaxing reprieve more than I did. Travel and tending to her mother who had been back and forth between the nursing home and the hospital had her overextended with no relief in sight. She admitted she had been running on empty the last few weeks with another emergency with her mom.

I couldn’t do anything to change Joann’s hectic work schedule or control any of her mother’s medical emergencies. But I could offer her something that would help. I could offer her a place to relax for just a little while and to leisurely chat with a friend. Yes, Joann is my neighbor. I also consider her my friend—a front porch friend.

Click to tweet: Small Acts of Kindness Sitting on the front porch with friends. #kindnessmatters #kindness


Kathy Cheek writes faith-filled devotions and is published in LifeWay’s Journey magazine and Mature Living, and also contributes to several devotional sites, including Thoughts About God, Christian Devotions, and CBN.com.

Her favorite subject to write about is the rich relationship God desires to have with us and the deep trust it takes to live it out. She and her husband of 33 years live in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas and they have two daughters and one son-in-law who also reside in the Dallas area. You can read more of her devotions at www.kathycheek.com.