25 Feb 2022

The power of kindness


Last week, I picked up my daughter from the train station. It was her first day back at college and I was out anyway at the time her train arrived.

As she got into the car, a woman knocked on my window. My first thought? What's wrong with the car? I rolled down the window and she asked if I was my daughter's Mum. Second thought? What has she done?

I nodded and the woman began to tell us what a pleasure it had been to sit in the same carriage as my daughter and her friends on her way home. She said it was lovely to hear them chatting away with each other, wearing their masks and being polite to anyone else they spoke to. Cue warm, fuzzy feeling moment!

What was even better, was the woman was talking to my daughter, not me. So, I sat beaming and trying really hard not to get emotional! The woman finished with a thank you to my daughter and a thank you to me for raising such a wonderful young woman, before going on her way.

We both smiled all the way home. How kind for this woman to take time out to come and talk to us. So often in the workplace, we have the conversation with a person's line manager to pass on - for doing something brilliantly (or not), rather than telling the person ourselves.

But, herein lies the problem - if the woman had come to me to tell me about my daughter, whilst I would have felt the same, I would not be able to convey the same emotion to my daughter, because it would have been second hand and I hadn't experienced the woman's pleasure.

It is so much kinder to have these conversations in person - whether it be thanks, praise or about some situation that has upset you. No-one can convey your feelings because they are your feelings.

Let's stop using other's line managers to have conversations on our behalf. They will be so much more powerful if we have them ourselves.

And much kinder.