November 13th was World Kindness Day
My grandmother used to say, “Always leave the campground a little better than you found it.” Americans have had a discouraging election season in which anger often predominated. I believe that most of us are still optimists and would like ideas on how to be ‘part of the solution’.
My friend, Peggy, is a teacher who was celebrated for the Random Acts of Kindness Club which she created and leads in a high school outside of Seattle. She is deserving. I got intrigued with the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.
The people at the RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) Foundation describe themselves in terms that many of us recognize in ourselves – at least in our better, optimistic moments.
“We know that you’re tired of all the negativity in the news, frustrated by the politics, sad to hear about all the pain and suffering out there. Believe us, we know. But there is a huge amount of good in this world… if we’d just take the time to notice it. That’s why we exist. To remind you of that good. To show you that love is the strongest emotion in our hearts and that kindness is the antidote to all the bad stuff.”
RAK highlights acts of kindness (large and small) and they share ideas and examples of kindness being spread every day. If you are inspired, you can:
Become a RAKtivist, a random acts of kindness activist. RAK provides a platform on the internet for people to share their stories of kindness and ideas to inspire others.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if millions of people signed up pledging to be kind?
Kindness Stories There are stories of kindness in the face of natural disaster and man-made terror. There are also stories of buying a cup of coffee for the frustrated person in line in front of you – without wanting anything in return. I am on an airplane right now, and I just watched a young woman, a passenger, lift five heavy bags into the overhead for several people who were struggling. We are all a little better for her efforts.
Kindness Ideas I liked the idea of making a donation to a local animal shelter in the amount of one (or several) adoption fees. That way, a family could adopt a pet for free. A cancer survivor going for an annual checkup, knits caps and takes them with her to the waiting room, where she gives them to someone beginning treatment. There is a list of organizations through which you can sponsor a child from another country and be a role model.
Kindness Videos See the Colorado Rockies promote kindness in a school.
Kindness Facts The first kindness fact is that kindness can be taught. The corollary to this is that unkindness can be taught. I know which one I prefer.
Another fact is that “The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to “pay it forward.” This means one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people!” I am on the plane experiencing the good feeling of the young woman helping fellow passengers.
Kindness Research that we can encourage kids to be generous by reminding them of their past kindness. Helping other relieves stress and improves health.
One other resource is a Harvard psychologist who has 5 tips on raising kind children.
If you, like many of us, are feeling a little discouraged. Try doing something unexpected and kind. If nothing else, it will make you smile.
“So, why kindness? Scientifically? Because it’s good for your health. Economically? Because it’s free. Practically? Because it’s easy. Socially? Because it improves the world.
But the real reason, of course… is that kindness is the key to lasting happiness.”