February 10-16 is Random Acts of Kindness Week
Random Acts of Kindness Week is in February
While there appear to be a number of pages claiming different dates on the Random Acts of Kindness week, its timing is actually in February according to the official Random Acts of Kindness Website. The idea behind the Random Acts of Kindness week is to encourage people to be kinder every day and to reach out to one another with kind acts and love.
Choosing to act with kindness toward other people affects the person choosing kindness over passing by. When you stop to give a homeless man a cup of coffee or visit a nursing home to spend time with the widowed elderly, you give yourself a gift as well. Kindness breeds gratitude and gratitude breeds kindness.
When you commit acts of kindness, everybody wins.
Why Commit Random Acts of Kindness?
When you go out of your way to be kind to another person, you open yourself up to experiencing gratitude and joy you may not have otherwise felt. Sharing is an amazing thing, and compassion works wonders for both the people involved in its action. How much does it cost you to do something nice for another person? Only as much as or as little as you want it to.
People who experience depression may be able to improve their moods by celebrating gratitude, and there is a noted connection between kindness and gratitude. Most giving people experience heightened gratitude. So being kind to somebody else may be able to keep you happier, in both the long and the short terms.
Have you ever committed a random act of kindness?
Have You Ever Gotten Involved?
Sometimes it's little things, like dropping change into the hat of a busker, and sometimes it's big things like writing notes on book marks and leaving them in books at the library or at book stores for other people to find. It might be something that takes you a few minutes, like buying a cup of coffee for somebody who's cold, or it could be something that takes you months or years, like volunteering at a homeless shelter.
No matter how small your act of kindness may have seemed to you, it's something big for somebody else. Never hesitate to be kind to someone who needs a bit more love in their life!
Have you ever received an act of kindness?
A Christmas Act of Kindness
I want to share a personal story with you, and then I'll go back to my normal writing tone when I'm done. This story has to be told, because this Christmas, an amazing act of kindness affected me in a way that I didn't know it could.
My family has been struggling, financially. A job that was meant to pay a particular amount hasn't been working out the way that it was meant to, and there have been a lot of issues. So my best friend signed us up for the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving project. A wonderful, anonymous person paid for our Thanksgiving dinner this past thanksgiving.
Toys 'R Us heard about what Scary Mommy was doing, and donated $200 gift cards through Toys for Tots to a small fraction of the thousands of families who had signed up for Thanksgiving. I believe that in the end it was 100 families.
Ours was one of the families chosen based, I believe, on an act of kindness on our part years ago. The best friend I mentioned had been in need of a home at the time. We didn't know her, but we gave her a place to live. She told our story, and the kindness came back around in our direction.
But there's more to this story. My mother had sent us a Christmas budget to make sure that we were able to get everything done that we needed to do. I had a Walmart Visa Gift Card, but the man at Walmart needed to know the exact amount on the card in order to run it. As it turned out, he ran it for $100, leaving me nearly $30 short on the purchase I was attempting to make.
An amazing woman behind me in line paid my balance.
I don't know how the people who did these things for us felt when they were finished doing them, but I will never, ever forget the kindness of literal strangers in 2013. I'll be telling that story to my grandchildren.
- Pay for a coffee for the next person in line.
- Take a hot drink to a homeless person.
- Make blankets for women at a women's shelter.
- Visit a nursing home to comfort widows and widowers.
What Counts as an Act of Kindness?
Kindness comes in many forms, and many people feel that they can't do enough or that what they do doesn't matter. The fact is that anything that you're able to contribute to Kindness week will make a difference in the life of another person.
Whatever you choose to do, it should be something that positively impacts another person. It could be stopping for the homeless man begging on the street or maybe buying a hot meal for somebody who doesn't have money for their own.
Your kindness doesn't necessarily have to be extended to someone who is clearly in need, either. Pay for the next five drinks in line at Starbucks, or cover a table's tab at your restaurant for Valentine's Day if you want to do something special.
Ways to Show Kindness
On the Street
Leave notes around work or school with messages of hope.
Give money to a beggar.
Give gifts to women at a shelter.
Leave letters to strangers in books.
Help clean up graffiti.
Visit a nursing home to chat.
Pay the parking meter behind you if it's run out.
Pay for coffee for the person in line behind you.
Deliver baked goods to shut-ins.
Last Year's Winner of the Extreme Kindness Challenge
A Project to Get Involved With This Kindness Week
Hannah Brencher, with More Love Letters, was last year's winner of the Extreme Kindness Challenge. MLL distributes love letters -- hand written and then sent to the organization by their writers -- to the insides of books at book stores and libraries, to coffee shops and other places where they can be found, loose and free.
These are love letters, written to encourage someone who is in need. Each letter is carefully read before distribution. The letters aren't meant to be romantic, but are intended to offer encouragement to those who need a boost in their lives. If you choose to read the "found letters" section of the website, have a box of tissues handy! You never know when your act of kindness could stop a suicide.
© 2014 Becki Rizzuti