This week is Random Acts of Kindness Week, (2/11 – 2/15). It’s a week
dedicated devoted to doing unexpected things to cheer or assist people. And did you know? The concept is not as old as you may think. Credit for the idea has been attributed to Anne Herbert who scrawled, “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a place mat in 1982.
While I do try to do little things for others on occasion, some on the sly, like leaving a “thank you” note for a co-worker after they have stepped away from their desk, I love that this concept has a week dedicated to celebrating it.
Participating is easy and if low on funds, it really doesn’t have to cost a thing
Here are some ideas:
- Be thoughtful – Is a friend having a tough day? Make a handmade flower or card and give it to her/him.
- Donate your time/talents – Is there a group that could benefit from your skills or elbow grease?
- Say Thank you – (Of course a favorite of mine) From your co-worker, to your boss, to the mailman, to the plow driver who helped get you on the road after a storm/blizzard, everyone deserves a thank you at some point.
- Send a friend a letter/card – Let them know that they were thought of today.
- Write a thank you note to someone who has inspired you, or helped you out – (Again another favorite of mine) Think of how much of an unexpected, but pleasant a surprise this would be. Plus they’ll notice the effort you took to hand-write it.
- Call your family, a friend or significant other and tell them that you love them.
- Say hello and give a smile to a stranger – Your bright attitude may just turn their day around if they are having a bad day.
- Already shoveling snow – (I know we are in the Northeast) take a moment to shovel or clear off your neighbors’ car/space.
- Take on a chore or task that a teammate or significant other has been meaning to do but just can’t seem to find the time to do.
- Share a list of local tips and key stores to someone who is new to your complex or neighborhood.
- Do nice things and don’t tell anyone about it – Ironically this can seem hard. HOWEVER…the effort tends to be more powerful and you are more humble for taking this approach.
Again these are just some ideas, the options are endless
Using the internet you can of course find other ideas for things to do. I particularly like this list from another blogger at And Then We Saved. Another, more notable idea was the one most recently proposed by Anne Curry after the Newtown, CT massacre. It was the “26 Acts of Kindness,” challenge that went viral on Facebook. The number 26 represented completing one act of kindness for each child and adult that was lost that day.
You can also find companies and organizations promoting this concept and week
You can visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation that works to inspire people to practice kindness and pass it on. I also found an article from a mall property owner who is running a promotion to celebrate the week – perhaps there is a participating mall near you?
I don’t think that random acts of kindness should only be performed only during this one week in the year. Think of what a kinder, happier place we could have if everyone was friendlier, more gracious, more encouraging and showed their appreciation on a daily basis. Giving, seems to open up something inside of us that allows us to receive more and to give more. It creates a positive and reciprocal cycle. You’d be amazed at what you might receive simply by giving/doing nice things for others.
Why not take the first step and do something nice for your neighbor like picking up their newspaper from the curb and dropping it on their doorstep, or inserting a “good luck” note in your child’s lunch, or tell your significant other how much their recent help for you meant in a hand-written note. You’ll probably make their day.
I’d love to hear what ideas you come up with this week to assist and cheer people — please know that you don’ t have to share the ones you’re planning to keep secret! And pass this along! Be the one to start a positive ripple effect.
Uh Oh! I need to run… my co-worker just left her desk and I want to drop off a “thank you” note!