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Be Like Ian - Random Act Of Kindness

Mark Arnold by Mark Arnold Additional Needs

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold

Mark heads up Urban Saints pioneering additional needs ministry programme and is co-founder of the ‘Additional Needs Alliance’, a learning and supp...

Be Like Ian - Random Act Of Kindness

Every now and then I read something online that lifts my soul for the rest of the day, sometimes ever the rest of the week! Yesterday was one of those days…

I was looking on the BBC website and saw the story of a mum, Natalie, and her young autistic son, Rudy, who has a range of additional needs.

They had been for a walk along the beach when Rudy became distressed and was having a meltdown, lying down on the floor.

That’s when, instead of the usual ‘looks’ and harsh comments from strangers that so many of us know all too well, they met Ian.

Ian chose kindness, and looked for ways to help, getting down with Rudy and engaging with him. Ian saved the day. You can read the full story here:

As my heart was thrilled reading this story, as I’m sure yours will be, it got me thinking about times when my autistic son has been struggling and when, instead of the usual comments, tuts and stares, people have simply asked how they could help.

Admittedly, it hasn’t happened often, but when it does it totally transformed the situation for us all.

It also got me thinking what motivates people to respond positively, or negatively, to a situation like this.

Maybe it is all about who people put first in that moment. Is it them?

Their peace has been shattered by a child having a meltdown and they are angry about the effect on them?

Or, as modelled by Ian in this story, putting someone else’s needs first for a while, being willing to step up and help someone.

And at the end of it all, which response is the one that has the best, lasting outcome?

An angry response leaves everyone feeling angry and upset, wounds that can last for ages.

A kind response brings joy, encouragement and friendship, as well as a memories and a story than can last a lifetime.

So, I’m challenging myself to ‘be like Ian’ next time I see someone struggling, to see how I can help, to choose kindness, to put the needs of someone else first for a while.

I hope for people to ‘be like Ian’ for me and my son when we’re out, maybe I need that to start with me being willing to do the same.

How about you?




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