Kindness, a simple word that has so much power.

What is kindness? Kindness is an act of unselfish behavior, whether learned or instilled, that transfers from one person to another, from one person to other creatures, great and small, and one person who inspires others to do the same. Kindness can be amazing.

Examples of kindness:

A person who spends 11 months of the year preparing one of the most amazing holiday light shows, to share with others of all ages, at no cost to the viewers. A person (who has now inspired a fleet of wonderful volunteers) whose only goal is to bring peace and happiness through beauty and wonder. For those of you who have never met someone like this, how fortunate you are to live in an area where Mike Register and his family have shown an entire community that doing something out of kindness can change the lives of others in such simple ways.

A person who puts their own life at risk, to defend others including complete strangers. Though this is a daily act of kindness from first responders, every now and then we hear of someone who goes above and beyond. It only took Jeff Wilson six seconds to stop an act of evil when a gunman opened fire in his church in Texas. Though not alone is his act of defending innocent victims, Mr. Wilson never hesitated as his heart was set on protecting those who could not protect themselves.

A person whose heart is heavy, yet still takes the time to listen to others that hurt as well.

A person who helps search for a missing person.

A person who helps search for a missing pet or rescues one in need. This week we heard of a young Marine who just happened to be fishing in the right spot to discover a German Shepherd that had become trapped in a storm drain, its rear legs broken. With help from strangers, the dog was rescued.

A person who invites those alone for the holidays to a meal or a gathering. For the first time ever I have been overwhelmed by emails and texts from people who found such joy by sharing their tables and their homes with people who were alone. No one wants to be alone for the holidays.

A person who donates food or toys to those without.

A person who volunteers to help rebuild a lost home.

A person who checks in on a neighbor.

A person who understands that the magic of the holidays is not about getting, but about giving.

Kindness does not have to cost a penny, but the act alone could be worth more than all the money in the world. Maybe a nice new year’s resolution would be to add one act of kindness a day, who knows, maybe it will become contagious. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Dorothy Royal is the owner of Surf City Guns and Ammo, mother of two wonderful children, ringmaster of a herd of miniature ponies and an avid member of the Surf City Writers Group and Topsail Book Club.