Today is “random acts of kindness” day. I am, as I hope we all are, an advocate of what this day means…and what it is meant to do…to make the world we live a better place. If I could wordsmith, I would remove “random” from the day. Kindness is a behavior, not an act. To do something randomly kind today suggests the kindness we commit is a whim…a fluke, just for one day. I am confident we do not believe that, for today is a reminder of the good we can do all year. I believe kindness is a decision, within all of us…within all good people…to make ourselves and those around us better people.
I did some research, and fell short in what I was looking for. I could not discover why today, February seventeenth, is random acts of kindness day. I learned New Zealand has a national holiday for kindness on September first. I learned that Anne Herbert first wrote the phrase “practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” in 1982 on a restaurant napkin. These words eventually evolved into her best selling book. Other than that, the reason why today is “random acts of kindness” day may be random too. For us, in recognition of this day, I offer a list of possible “acts” you can perform. You do not need to do all, or any, for they range from simple activities to large time commitments. It is meant to inspire what you can do to help others…or even yourself…for a better tomorrow.
You can do these kindness activities among and between what you may already have planned. You don’t have to go out of your way, only take the time to be mindful in how you can inspire kindness in others.
• Offer a sense of cheer or levity to someone who is in poor spirits
• Be aware of your mood or disposition, and exhibit good manners
• Offer compliments freely, call out behavior you appreciate
• Forgive someone who has slighted you, it may not be about you…sometimes people just need to “love themselves” and never realized they did you wrong
• Welcome a new neighbor or colleague to the community or team
• Give your full attention when speaking with someone
You can do these kindness activities with some planning. It may require thought, effort or finance to make happen, but the impact will be worthwhile.
• Buy someone coffee, a drink or a meal…just because
• Send a card to a friend in appreciation of help they gave you
• Offer assistance if you see someone in duress…like offering change for a parking meter about to expire or helping to push a disabled car out of traffic
• Help a colleague who may be struggling at work
• Give up your spot in line for someone who looks like they are in a rush
• Bake treats for your neighbors or colleagues
You can do these kindness activities with an organized effort. With a little research, you can find charitable or social conscious organizations that coordinate events. It may be as simple as showing up and dedicating your time for the day.
• Donate blood, or any surplus of goods
• Volunteer for community focused event, such as school our house constructions
• Volunteer for an environmental focused event, such as a park or beach cleanup
• Volunteer for a cause that will help the unfortunate, such as a food drive
• Offer your expertise to teach others in your community, such as coaching children or participating in a Parent, Teacher Association
…May you have a kind, random act of kindness day, and inspire others with your actions.