Today, February 17th, is Random Acts of Kindness Day. While it is so easy to become one of those bandwagon criticizers who bags on things like this, I wanted to take a minute to talk about some quick facts, and then share a list of some of my favorite RAK ideas…
There is a variety of people, out in the world, who say that performing Random Acts of Kindness is SELFISH, if you’re doing it for attention or to make yourself feel good.
This is a fine line to balance. On one hand, you have the TikTok contributors, who video themselves helping others (often in really unrealistic or large ways), and I do morally have a problem with this. It feels gross. If you’re handing a homeless person $400 while filming them, and using the dialogue “I saw this guy on the street so I’m giving him FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS and it will change his life! Here you go buddy, it’s yours. You can take it!” It is belittling, exploitive AND not at all generous. You look like a *insert a hundred different expletives here*, and you need to stop. Period.
On the other hand, if you have a photo of your kid and the fire chief posing with the plate of cookies you baked, on Instagram, that’s amazing. Sharing the kindness we have isn’t necessarily looking for attention when our hope is that it could inspire others to spread kindness too. We need to talk about our generosity, and let it spread like wildfire. It comes down to intent…
Now… to quickly address the selfish because it makes you feel good debate:
Everything makes us feel something. EVERYTHING. Every single day we should aspire to feel good. To feel good about the things we’ve done, the choices we’ve made, etc. How we feel impacts our actions, and our direct treatment of others. How we feel can have a LONG REACHING IMPACT, far beyond our feelings. Ripple effects are REAL.
There is no crime in feeling good about something…
While it is my sincere hope that we strive for true kindness every day, I’m going to focus on TODAY. Below is a list of some of my favorite RAK ideas. (And, if you receive my monthly email then you already know that my podcast, the Collective Podcast, has deemed the 20th day of every month, this year, as an Acts of Kindness day. Small gestures really can change the world…)
- A donation to amazing organizations, fighting the good fight. (like Rescue Freedom, fighting in the trenches agains human trafficking)
- Leaving children’s books in hospital waiting rooms.
- taping baggies of coins to hospital vending machines.
- full-filling wishlist items for underprivileged classrooms.
- donating time at shelters, throughout the year, instead of just the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season.
- covering someone’s drive-thru order behind you.
- purchasing a gift card, when you dine out, and handing it to someone entering the restaurant, as you leave.
- buying a meal for homeless people.
- better yet, sharing a meal with them and listening to their story.
- sending pizza, or donuts to night shift first responders.
- leaving beverages and treats, in a cooler, for delivery drivers OR
- a note to ring for warm beverages, (or local coffee place gift cards)
- mowing an elderly or disabled persons lawn. (or cleaning gutters, etc.)
- picking up litter.
- keeping random gas and coffee gift cards in your car, for when those “needs” arise.
- used book donations to nursing homes and senior centers.
- donating used clothing and housewares to women’s shelters and programs helping women rebuild their lives.
- expanding your view of the world by hearing others stories. knowledge develops empathy and empathy paves the path for kindness 100% of the time. (The Collective Podcast EXISTS for this reason)
- Adopting a foster family, through organizations like this.
There are SO MANY other ways to give… I’d love to hear yours!