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Sometimes, you find yourself amazed at how some little inconsequential thing to you means so much more to someone else. I am often reminded of this when talking to my boys, they will remember some unmemorable event, some simple thing that we once did together or said or laughed about and cling to it. To them, it has significance far beyond the thing itself – it is tied with a memory of some type which has taken root in their brain. Often, we don’t even remember the event, or even the day, we have filed it under inconsequential, unmemorable.
You never know the impact you have on someone or what some little thing that you might have offhandedly forgotten all about might have on someone else. Don’t discount that what you do or didn’t do for someone didn’t matter or was insignificant. Simple innocuous acts can ripple and have effects that you never thought imaginable.
Tonight, we were at a meeting at someone’s house when it was interrupted by a stranger at the person’s door, asking for a ride into town because his vehicle was not able to be driven. While the stranger was unrecognizable to us, we later learned that he was a classmate of one of our boys, a child that we had met only a couple times and who had been over to our house several years for literally two times. Neither was eventful, your typical play date. As I drove home I was struck by the fact that this child, on the verge of adulthood, whom I no longer recognized, immediately recognized us, the parents, calling us by name. It sent chills up my spine that two seemingly insignificant afternoons at my house more than 3 years ago caused this child who I haven’t seen since, to remember us. What had we done that had caused him to immediately recall us? What impact did our severely limited contact with this boy have that he would recognize and recall us after such a long period? Makes you wonder. He was no different than the dozens of kids that have graced our threshold since and was treated no differently. Makes me wonder. What happened on those two visits was evidently enough to trigger a quick and solid recollection when he saw us despite his distress.
When I think back into my own memories, I recall things that may have happened so long ago, but are as clear as if they happened only yesterday. Are those memories,which are so clear still in my mind because of the way I was treated or mistreated, forgotten in someone else’s?
Tomorrow is International Pay It Forward Day. It is a day where everyone is asked to do one random act of kindness for someone, anyone.
To explain about the concept, here is an excerpt from payitforwardday.com
There is tremendous power and positive energy in giving – it is a shame that not enough people have experienced it to the fullest. Pay It Forward Day is about all people, from all walks of life giving to someone else and making a positive difference. At last count there were more than 16 countries around the world participating in the day.
So why Pay it Forward?
- To encourage all of us to embrace the incredible power of giving.
- To show each other that we care and that there is love, hope and magic all around us.
- To know that we may be only one person in this world, but to one person, at one time, we are the world.
Make a difference and experience the true power of giving. Thank you for your support. Together we can change the world – one good deed at a time!
According to Psychology Today, studies have shown that performing acts of kindness actual increase your happiness. People feel good when they are doing good, even if it is a small gesture.
Why is being generous such a mood-booster? While hard-and-fast answers are elusive, the main reason is that it gives people a strong sense they’re doing something that matters. “There are a lot of positive social consequences to being kind—other people appreciate you, they’re grateful and they might reciprocate,” Stanford University psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky says. All of these responses, she adds, are likely to make your happiness cup run over.
This concept of doing good for others in order to improve your own happiness is also a theme in the book I am currently reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. According to Gretchen one of the realizations she came upon in her research is that “one of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy.”
Here are some simple things we can do to pay it forward tomorrow…try one on and see how you feel.
- Smile at a total stranger
- Put money in someone’s parking meter that’s about to run out.
- Pay the toll for the car behind yours
- Call someone just to say hello and see how their day is going
- Send flowers for no reason.
- Give a thank you note to a crossing guard or bus driver.
- Pay for someone’s coffee or dessert.
- Bake cookies and take them to a neighbor.
- Visit an elderly neighbor “just because”.
- Leave a book that you love for someone else to enjoy on a bus or train.
- Hold the door for someone
- Leave an extra tip for a waitperson
- Say please and thank you and mean it!
- Share an umbrella with someone who doesn’t have one
What other ideas do you have to make someone else’s day a little better?