Sunday, November 15, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness - Michelle Willingham

As we move into November, I'm caught up by the lure of the holidays. Even though we haven't celebrated Thanksgiving yet, I love seeing holiday ornaments and decorations on sale and seeing the allure of the forthcoming season. When I was a child, I loved the promise of snow in December, and I would stay up late at night, hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa Claus.

Now, as the mother of three, all of my kids are eagerly anticipating Christmas, hoping that every last wish will come true. But only a few months ago, my son asked, "Mom, why is it that there are poor kids out there who don't get presents from Santa? They're really good. Shouldn't they get what they want?"

I was caught up, unable to answer. How do you explain to your son that there are some children who, no matter how good they are, won't get even the basic things that they need? It's heart-wrenching, but at the same time, I was struck that he would think about them. And so, we talked about how it's up to us to be Santa Claus to those in need. It may not always be with material goods, but sometimes it's by being kind and by being a good friend.

Often, you hear about people who perform random acts of kindness. My sister-in-law is one of those people who will often send a greeting card for no reason. Just knowing that someone is thinking about you can be a gift, in and of itself. I think we sometimes forget that the little things mean the most. Stopping to look at a dandelion with your toddler. Baking cookies with your kids as a surprise for your husband. Or simply listening, when a friend needs your sympathy.

When I write my books, often I'll try to find something small that a hero or heroine will do, that expresses love in an everyday manner. Not with grand gestures, but something subtle. To me, that's what real love is. Kindness in a hero is when a man will stay up, walking the floors with a screaming infant. Or cleaning the house without being asked.

In my first book, Her Irish Warrior, the hero let the heroine warm her cold feet on his leg without balking (How many wives have planted their icy cold feet on their husband's leg in the middle of the night? Show of hands!). And I'll admit, the hero of my February 2010 book, The Accidental Countess, actually does walk the floors with a screaming infant. As a mom, I can tell you, there's nothing more romantic than a man who will let you sleep.

What sorts of everyday acts of kindness have you encountered? What makes someone heroic to you? Or have you ever done something in secret, to help someone? Post a comment, and I'll draw one lucky winner to receive a signed copy of Taming Her Irish Warrior.

Author Bio:
Michelle Willingham has written seven books for Harlequin Historical. Her most recent release is Taming Her Irish Warrior, and readers can enjoy a free daily online read, "Voyage of an Irish Warrior," at Visit her website at: for more details.


jeanette8042 said...

I've encountered several simple acts of kindness, such as helping someone pick up things they dropped or someone giving up their seat in the bus for an elderly person.

Mary said...

I see random acts of kindness all the time. Feeding a wild rat you find in your shed. Helping someone reach a can on the top shelf at the grocery store. Someone leaving their check book on the counter at the checkout at a store and the next person running after them to give it to them.

michellewillingham said...

Jeanette, that's true. I'm always very conscious of pregnant women when it comes to public transportation. I've been there, 8-9 months pregnant, desperately needing a seat.

Mary--very true. :)

Virginia C said...

Cute kitchen crew : ) Thank goodness for random acts of kindness. These past few years have been very difficult for me in every way. I have several friends who plant gardens and provide me with wonderful vegetables. They love my homemade bread and soup, so I share my cooking with them. I have seen children give up their toys for children who have no toys. I have seen elderly people on fixed incomes share with each other to make sure no one went without food. My neighbors have fixed things at my house that were broken or helped me with my car. All these kindnesses were done from the heart, without second thoughts. The giver was just as happy as the receiver. The great thing about random acts of kindness is that they often "pay it forward" and inspire other such acts.

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Emmanuelle said...

I love your kitchen picture. I was doing just that with my 9 yo son last saturday. He made mean appetizers for our friends and had so much fun doing so !

Speaking of my son(s), I remember how DH (like your hero) used to wake up everynight when the kids were babies. It was pretty useless because I was breastfeeding them so they basicaly needed ME, only ! But he still woke up, take the baby from his crib, change his diaper and eventually bring him to me. That was very nice, and cute. Especilly because he had to work the whole day afterward. Small gestures... VERY MUCH appreciated ;-)

michellewillingham said...

Virginia C--I love home grown vegetables. There's nothing better!

Emmanuelle--cooking with kids is so much fun. My almost-2 year old adores stirring. :)

Linda Henderson said...

My daughter had a baby back in March at 23 weeks and she spent 4 months in the NICU. There were so many kind people who donated things to my daughter it was amazing. Local churches donate blankets to the NICU, other organizations donate to the NICU. These people will never be forgotten.

Armenia said...

I see random acts of kindness and I think when people see this, they want to act upon it. You know, pay it forward.

My husband is my hero. Just when I'm losing it, he'll jump right in and give the kids their baths and put them to bed, or dress them in the mornings while I make lunches. He'll bring my coffee up to the bedroom to get my day started.

Beth said...

I see a lot of kindness everyday at work. I work in a public library and right now we are seeing a lot of people who are in dire straights. Though customer service is the biggest part of our job the librarians I work with go above and beyond to help people.
In addition to all the traditional "librarian" things we do we also help write resumes, fill out financial aid applications, proof read cover letters, help with job searching and applications, waive fines, teach free computer classes and provide free entertainment in many forms. Go into any library anywhere and you will the same thing happening. We also recommend great books to read, especially romance!

michellewillingham said...

Linda--that is truly wonderful that your daughter received such special attention during a difficult time.

Armenia--your husband sounds like a keeper!

Beth--that's fascinating! I had no idea that librarians also helped with those sorts of things.

Okay, time for the book drawing:
Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2009-11-16 10:40:23 UTC

So that means Armenia is our winner! Armenia, e-mail me at: michelle AT and tell me your mailing address and I'll send you a copy of Taming Her Irish Warrior. :)

cait045 said...

Random acts of kindness make people smile when they think they can't.

Alison said...

Oooh, I know the cold feet one! My husband doesn't like me putting cold feet on him, but he does put up with it. I like to send little notes to people to brighten their day - proper ones, through the post, which are eveb more special in the days of emails. I make them myself (I love scrapping and cardmaking) so they don't cost a lot. I also make up sets to give to friends at Christmas.

Mary said...

Congrats, Armenia.

Armenia said...

Thanks Michelle, looking forward to reading TAMING HER IRISH WARRIOR !! Will send addy.