Ten Kind Deeds You Can Do Today
The friend on the phone was reminding me about at conference we attended the previous week. "I made a joke and it fell flat," he said. "Fifteen seconds later, you broke the silence with your laughter, and other people joined in. You have no idea how relieved I was when you laughed.”
In my friend's mind, breaking the silence with my laughter merited an expression of thanks. In my mind, it registered deeply how simple things—sometimes unintentional, sometimes effortless on the part of the doer can prove valuable to someone else. I had been kind without even noticing.
His thanks may have been one of the simple things he took for granted, but his expression of gratitude has impressed me for three decades. It is the inspiration for this article about simple, kind deeds which make lasting impressions. There are opportunities to perform one or more in any given day. The more intentional you become, the more obvious the opportunities.
This list of ten is by no means exhaustive of the many kind deeds which you can do today. Please feel free to add to the list.
(1) Welcome a Stranger
It may be at church, at a civic group, or at some gathering in a private home. The newcomer is looking for connection, and that first handshake with a word of welcome will go a long way in making him or her feel accepted. It could be the deciding factor in whether or not the stranger joins the group.
(2) Applaud a Friend
Reward is sweeter when a friend joins in the celebration. Give a spontaneous applause when your friend breaks the news of a mission accomplished. Recognizing an achievement means that you care, and it adds to your friend’s sense of self-worth.
(3) Motivate a Child
There are many people who remember some encouraging word an adult said to them in their childhood. You do not have to know a child to advise him or her on the benefits of hard work in school; or on maintaining a positive attitude. Be the voice in a child's head saying, “Never give up.”
(4) Compliment a Young Adult
Despite the many misunderstandings between generations, there are times when your teens and young adults (or their friends) perform admirably—making important decisions, undertaking huge responsibilities, supporting worthy causes. A compliment from a trusted, older person will affirm their actions immediately, and influence their sense of direction for a long time.
(5) Appreciate Service Personnel
From an army officer to a janitor, everyone who serves appreciates recognition for services rendered. Usually, you know them by their uniforms and you meet them on the street or at their places of business. Include the postman, the bus driver, the crossing guard, for example. It takes a few seconds to let them know that you appreciate their contribution to the community.
(6) Comfort the Bereaved
The first anniversary after the loss of a friend or family member brings back the pain. Practice making a note of the date of the loss, and call the grieving person or family on the anniversary with a comforting word. This thoughtful act eases the pain considerably. Better yet, stop by with a thoughtful gift.
(7) Support a Leader
Some leaders get bogged down with paperwork and protocol. They lose touch with their followers, leaving them uncertain of where to look for support. A reassuring voice can be a breath of fresh air, to wake them up to their responsibilities to the people, and cause renewal of their commitment. If the leadership position is spiritual, offer prayer support.
(8) Show Interest in a Subordinate
People whose jobs rank below yours, have basic needs—for recognition, for attention, for security and other needs similar to yours. The Aibileen Clark character (Viola Davis) in the movie, The Help complained "No one had ever asked me what it feel like to be me."
Show personal interest (within appropriate bounds) in your secretary, your trainee, your housemaid. Make general inquiries about the children and whatever situation they bring to your attention. Your interest can brighten their day and secure their loyalty.
(9) Congratulate a Competitor
Have you ever experienced the withdrawal of friends or team members who make steady strides up the progress ladder? To the winner, success brings a feeling of discomfort in the midst of fellow competitors. You can help maintain a friendly atmosphere by congratulating the winner and stating that the win is well-deserved. The continued association will likely bring mutual benefits up ahead.
(10) Forgiven an Offender
It may seem the most difficult on this list of simple things, but you will not lose anything tangible or be worth anything less after you have done it.
Let the offender know that you intend to move on from the hurt, and do not intend to hold any ill-will against him or her. Get emotional help, if necessary, to heal any recurring hurt. Forgiveness means lasting freedom and better emotional health to you. Although you are under no obligation to maintain the same kind of relationship you had with the offender, you also give permission for him or her to move on.
A smile, a nod, a pat on the back can be added to the list. These kind deeds are not worth any money, but they are valuable. They take a minimum amount of time, and they can have positive, lifetime influence.
- Simple Good Deeds Anyone Can Do | Tips on Life and Love
Doing good deeds not only affects those around you, but also improves your own emotional well-being. Try these random acts of kindness from Debbie Macomber, author of One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity.
© 2013 Dora Weithers