• Stephanie Hammond

Being a pixie, paying it forward, random acts of kindness

Teaching children compassion can be a challenge but always fun. Sometimes opportunities to help children share on this level come up when something sad has happened.

One time, a family near us had a house fire. It was just after Christmas and all their children’s presents were gone. A call went out for toys for the children. I was thrilled at the spontaneity of my kids. Without a thought, they picked something from their presents and donated it, never thinking of it as a loss, but happy to share. One particular daughter chose a present to gift to a child from this family that she had particularly wanted and asked for all year. She didn’t hesitate. In such moments my heart swells with gratitude for their generous hearts.

In ordinary every day times, I loved thinking of fun ways of showing neighbourly affection. One thing we often did was to be a pixie. This was a particularly fun time. The aim of being a pixie was to do something good for another without that person finding out it was you. If they found you out, it didn’t count and you’d have to find another to work your pixie magic for.

I don’t know if my now adult children remember these times, but I certainly do. And my own life has been richer for these experiences - both when I’ve been a pixie, or when someone has given to me and I’ve not known who it was.

I love books, and one of the things I’ve done is give a book that might resonate with me for the particular person I have in mind. I remember choosing a book that I hadn’t read yet. And within a week of giving it, someone gave me that very same book. My heart sank at first - she knew it was me! She didn’t like it! Such thoughts ran through my mind. And when I opened the book, there was a lovely inscription from someone else who thought of me when she saw the book. Whew!! My secret pixie life was safe!

More recently, the ‘random acts of kindness’ movement has sprouted up. One of my favourite acts of kindness was paying for the next car or two as I stopped to pay the toll on my travels. Now the toll gates have gone and been replaced by a chip in the car that takes the toll automatically, that joy of giving has gone.

I love that though. It helps keep the giving fresh. Another lovely concept is ‘paying it forward’. You give to me when I’m in need, I give to someone else when I’m in a better space. I’ve always known this is how it works. Often in the past when someone has helped me at a low time, that person hasn’t been there to repay when things looked up again. So it was natural that I’d look around to give to someone else.

The world is full of lovely stories of people paying it forward and doing random acts of kindness and being a pixie. The ones that touch my heart the most are of how teachers do this for their students and how years later the students remember those acts and tell how their lives turned out for the better. Truly, there’s not one such act that doesn’t bear fruit. Just smile at a stranger and see how that makes you feel! And how your smile is inevitably reflected in the face of the stranger.

Giving is a joy. And it can have a lasting effect on both the giver and receiver.

Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.

Scott Adams

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