Kindness is being selfless, caring, compassionate and unconditionally kind. It is important to remember that you do not know what is going on in other people’s lives and a simple kindness could be the difference of them having a bad day to a having a great day.

It is said that the smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention. (Oscar Wilde)
A smile? Really, what can a smile do? Did you know that a smile is contagious? Smiles, often times, is a chain reaction and can travel for miles. Smiling has been known as the natural drug. When you smile, it releases endorphins, natural painkillers, and serotonin, three wonderful ingredients that make us feel great from head to toe, elevating our mood, relax our body and reduces physical pain.

Most simple acts of kindness will cost you nothing but any effort you might put into it. Opening a door for someone, offering to assist if someone is struggling with something, calling someone you have not spoken to in a while, sending a birthday or anniversary card, giving a dog water, or just saying hello to a stranger. Drivers appreciate a simple wave for a courtesy they have given you.

Have you ever thought of buying a coffee for the unknown person in the car behind you in the drive through at Tim Horton’s?

My point is, there are many, many ways to show kindness and every time you show or extend a kindness, it makes you feel great as well.

There are many ways to exercise kindness while square dancing.

1) Being forgiving.
If someone breaks your square down, smile, laugh and encourage lines or squaring up and carry on.
2) Be a greeter at the door.
Offering your hand in friendship, a hug and a smile could mean the world to guests. Let them know they are among friends.
3) Make time for single dancers.
We all know that single dancers make up a large percentage of square dancers and they too came to dance. Give up your partner or your spouse and angel these singles giving them the opportunity to get out there and participate, to learn and to have fun. That is what they came for.
4) Get involved.
Bring treats for sharing. Most clubs enjoy a snack time while announcements are being made. Take your turn and thank those responsible for bringing snacks.
5) Encourage others.
Applaud others and encourage them to keep coming out. Your friendship could be only one of the reasons they are here.
6) Thank others in your square when you have finished a tip.
7) Thank your caller for sharing his time and talents so you could enjoy the activity.
8) Involve yourself by participating in square dancing at retirement homes or senior’s groups.
Watch the smiles radiate and the toes tap as you bring joy to those that really appreciate it.
9) Help decorate your dance hall or facility.
Take it upon yourself to lend a hand. Dance clubs do not have decorating fairies or cleanup fairies. By showing up early or staying a little later, it shows you are being kind and that you care.

It is fun to explore how learning to square dance is a tool to connect people where your greatest achievement is spreading joy.

Remember to be kind to yourself. A very appealing point for adults is that square dancing bolsters mental and physical health by improving posture, flexibility, lifts mood, and eases anxiety. Kindness is free to give, but priceless to receive. Too often we underestimate the power of touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring. All of which have the potential to turn a life around.

Something to think about.

Austin Hayward (Thames Valley Dance Club)