My favorite television commercial features a number of people attending a carnival who all inspire each other by their individual gestures of kindness. The company behind this commercial happens to be an insurance company whose bottom line is, of course, that it vows to treat you the same way if you become a customer. I like watching this commercial and imagining that if we all treated each other with a little kindness that it can go a long way to building a larger sense of charity within each of us.
So, let’s make an effort to be kind every day of every week. And what better time to start fulfilling that goal than this week, which is World Kindness Week, a special celebration of kindness sponsored by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. Here are some ideas to get you started on your kindness journey:
Get Back to Kindness Basics
Seriously, we can all take a lesson from our mothers and kindergarten teachers. Say “please.” Say “thank you.” Hold the door open for someone. Pick up something that someone has dropped. Say hello and wave hi to folks you pass on your morning jog. Before you ask a store clerk for help, say “Hello. How are you?” Treat others with respect and speak nicely. It really goes a long way.
Catch People Off Guard With Your Kindness
Let someone go ahead of you in the grocery line. Pay the toll for the car behind you. Give up a coveted parking space. Bring your neighbor’s garbage can in from the street. Buy an extra newspaper for a fellow commuter on the train, or give up your seat on the train for someone standing. Buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you at the donut shop. In our hectic society, these good deeds will be totally unexpected. It is very likely that the folks you touch will carry your gesture with them throughout the day, and will feel compelled to do something similar for people they meet.
Reach Out to Those in Need
The next time you pass a beggar on the street why not throw a dollar in the cup? When the local fire department sends its annual donation letter, why not give a little – even $10 or $20? Don’t throw out perfectly good clothes, coats and shoes that your children have outgrown. Take a few extra minutes to contact a local charity who can get your gently worn items to those who could really use them. Many agencies will come to your home and pick up your donation.
The one small act of kindness you perform will grow like the branches on a tree because those who are the recipients of your goodness will turn around and share it with others. Start today, and see what happens.