Skip to main content

Footprints of Kindness: Leaving Trails in Snow, Sand, and Hearts

Mar 08, 2022 09:58AM ● By Daniela J. Jaeger

High season has reached us in Southwest Florida—a time when we again welcome part-time residents and visitors from all over the world to our treasured coastal sanctuary. Without a doubt, we understand why so many people love coming to our gulf waters and beautiful beaches. Leaving footprints in the sand feels so much better than leaving footprints in the snow.

I enjoy seeing trails of footprints along the beach because each one tells the story of a journey. Some are fast, others are slow. You can tell by the spacing between the prints—the person’s stride. There are runners, walkers, even little crawlers, and they all leave a trail that represents why they came to the water’s edge. Next time you walk in the sand, stop after a while and look back at your own footprints. What does the trail say about your journey?

The beach is unique because you can see the footprints you’ve left. We can’t do that in many other places. We walk our neighborhoods, but the paths are often hard—cement, asphalt, gravel. We can’t look back and see where we’ve stopped to chat with a neighbor, left the sidewalk to give someone a hand, or waited for a passing car or cyclist while offering a friendly wave. We leave no signs we were there… except for footprints of kindness.

In my last publisher’s letter, I wrote about how true happiness is not fleeting. It lasts, and it’s experienced in the now. It also overflows with kindness. A truly happy person is one who leaves a trail of kindness behind. Unlike footprints in the snow that soon melt away, or footprints in the sand that get washed away by changing tides, footprints of kindness last forever. Knowing this, shouldn’t we all try to incorporate simple acts of kindness into our daily lives?

There is a golden rule of kindness: Treat others as you want them to treat you. That has universal application and appeal, no matter who you are or where you live. Would you like to see healing across this troubled and divided nation of ours? I would! And I’m convinced that showing kindness is how that healing will happen. We can all leave footprints of kindness in the lives of others.

The places to start are in our homes, at school, at work, and where we volunteer our time. Maybe showing kindness can start for you with simply inviting someone to go for a walk. You might be surprised how spending time together in nature can help you see the world more clearly. And when you both look back, you might just be able to see a long trail of kindness that you’ve left for others to follow.

We should be especially thankful for the kindnesses bestowed by every healthcare professional, for staying strong and helping us weather the crisis over these past two years. I want to give a personal thank you to a dear friend, Dr. Paul Denis Kuehner, who passed on January 27, 2022. Dr. Kuehner served our community with dedication and kindness for many years.

As always, we enjoy hearing your feedback, so be sure to connect with us through our social media channels. And do something kind for yourself today!

Daniela J. Jaeger 

Group Publisher, TOTI Media

Become a subscriber to our print issue.