I have moved to a very small town (population of about 1,200ish) that is an hour and a half from where I grew up. This is where I will be living and teaching this coming school year. It is no surprise to me that teachers are the local celebrity here. Even the teachers that just moved to town.
One teacher had been emailing me and we met for dinner a few nights ago. Then the other day, I had people knocking on my door with treats. They said that they heard I was the new teacher and wanted to welcome me to the community. Needless to say, I haven’t had to cook a meal in days. I am well taken care of.
I don’t know if these gestures would be called “random acts of kindness” or if that is just how it is here. I have moved to other communities before and have never been so well received. At those places I had to work my hardest to find out where everything was and who everyone is. Not here. I have only been here for a few days and I have already been filled in by the locals on where to get my haircut, who the massage therapist, dentist and doctor is, what the local theater shows and at what times during the summer and school year, etc. I have also been getting welcoming emails from the school staff.
I grew up in and worked in small towns. Sure, it was always friendly and you knew everyone, but I was never the outsider coming in. I have to admit. It feels so nice to be welcomed into the community like this. I have to wonder if it is like this in other places. I have never lived in or really even visited huge cities (The only ones I have been to are Minneapolis, Denver, New York City and Paris). So I wonder, what is it like to move someplace like that? Are people as welcoming? I guess it probably depends on where you move and what you are going to be doing there.
My point is that these small gestures of kindness these people are making towards me not only make me feel like a member of the community already, but make me feel welcomed and wanted in the town. I had my reservations about moving to a small town, but those no longer exist. Needless to say, I am no longer afraid of the fact that I might not fit in or be welcomed. So, if you live somewhere that someone moved in across the street, next door, down the street or perhaps in your apartment building, I challenge you to do a kind gesture or “random act of kindness” and bake them cookies, go over and say hi, or even invite them over for dinner. These small gestures go a long way. It will make them feel welcomed and less like a stranger in their new community. Moving is hard. You are leaving behind friends, familiar places and your old home for a new and unfamiliar place. Go ahead and make that move easier for them by helping them feel welcomed in the community. I know that since I have had this happen to me, I will sure be taking time out of my day to be doing the same to people who are new to the community. Perhaps I am stuck in the small town feeling of the small town love. But, I have to admit. It sure does feel good.
~Small Town Love