This week is Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK) Week (2/12 – 2/18). It all leads up to National Random Acts of Kindness Day on Friday, February 17th. However don’t forget about the 18th!
While not confirmed, it’s believed that Random Acts of Kindness originated when Anne Herbert wrote, “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a place mat in a Sausalito, CA restaurant in 1982 or 1983. Later when Random Acts of Kindness, True Stories of Acts of Kindness, was published in 1993, it set off a chain reaction of support. Americans were inspired to take part after TV, radio and newspapers broadcast/published segments and articles on the subject.
To me, practicing RAOKs is akin to showing appreciation. You’re appreciating those around you by letting them know how much they mean to you – even strangers to whom you may be wordlessly saying, “Hey. I see you! We’re in this together. Here’s something nice for you.” So I try to practice carrying out random acts weekly, but I am always up for focusing my efforts on a greater scale when this week focused on kindness comes along .
You may feel overwhelmed by the task I propose, and are saying, “What can I do?” or “I’ve never done anything like this before.” Never fear I have a few ideas for you.
- Ideas You Can Do with Your Family
- Ideas for Strangers
- Things to Do at Work
- Things to do Online
Simply choose the topic that best fits your need/preference and go with it. There really is no wrong way to show kindness.
Need to follow someone else’s lead? Take a page from my RAOK book. Here are some things I do for others all year long:
- Stick Post-it® Notes on Car windshields or Mirrors in dressing rooms and public bathrooms Short inspirational messages can make someone’s, even a stranger’s day.
- Hide a Post-it® Note inside a book (One of your own or in a library book.) If you choose a library book, consider one in the “NEW” section. These are taken out with increased regularity, and someone is bound to see your note sooner than later.
- Cover the cost of a coffee, take-out meal, or side dish for a stranger. Simply share extra $$ with the cashier with the request to cover the next customer. Include a note or attach one of mine. (See resources section for a printable PDF.)
- Send a Just Because Note to someone who makes a difference in your life this week. This could be a friend or networking contact that takes time out to help you when you call.
- Drop a Thank You note or card to your Landlord, Mail Carrier or the Office Receptionist You may often overlook these people as it seems like they are paid to provide top quality service to/for you. However, everyone likes to feel appreciated even if it’s in their “job description” to make others happy. I know it will mean a lot to know you recognize their assistance.
- Call a friend or networking contact with whom I’ve been out of touch It’s nice to be acknowledged for the difference that you make in this world.
- Leave a small gift/token with a RAOK note for a stranger to find This can range from one leaving a $1 bill in Target’s Dollar bins, quarters for 1 load of laundry at the laundromat, to leaving a handful of candies (preferably the store’s wrapping or it may seem suspect). You can be as creative as you like, and be sure to add a note.
- Don’t forget yourself. Even we need to show kindness to ourselves once in a while. Why not post a stickie note in a book that you’re going to read soon, on a mirror, or buy yourself some flowers.
It’s Good for You
Need further support on why you should participate? Doing good is good for you. It’s good for your health to be kind/show kindness to others. Check out this article on Johnson Health Tech North America’s site for more info!
You may have already started participating, or are just learning about RAOK Week. Don’t fret if you’re just hearing about it. There is still time to participate and/or simply focus your efforts on February 17th when we celebrate National Random Acts of Kindness Day.
The point is to show kindness and appreciation often. If these ideas get you into the habit that’s great!
Share examples of how you show kindness in the comments section!
Additional resources below, including a downloadable PDF of tags you can use when you spread kindness!
Downloadable Tags: To help you on your quest with some of the suggestions I made above, I’ve uploaded a sheet of tags you can print, cut out and use. You can of course create your own. I initially created these in PowerPoint. raok-tags-2017
Here’s is the Random Acts of Kindness Organization list of daily list of ideas:
You may also find ones you like from BuzzFeed’s list of 101 East RAOK ideas.