Each New Year I try to think of a creative way to become a better person.  A few years back it was to perform random acts of kindness each day. Now mind you, random acts of kindness can cost you NOTHING!  I remember back in the day I would see someone with ROCKIN' shoes and I would think to myself "I LOVE those shoe", or I would see that mom with three kids in toe with two of them screaming their heads off and the third one lost a shoe and the mom has the look of 'dear God, please help me on her face' and I would think 'Oh sweetie, I feel your pain' and I would move on.  But with my new 'resolution' I started saying those things out loud.  I would say to that lady with rockin' shoes, "Wow! I love your shoes" or to that crazed mom I offered a smile and say 'I feel your pain, hang in there sweetie'.   Such simple jesters of kindness can go a long way; it can turn what started out as a bad day into a good day, all from someone being kind. 

Early last week I challenged my kids to perform random acts of kindness towards one person at school AND  towards EACH SIBLING each day.  I told them we would talk about what we all did at dinner that night.  Well, that didn't work very well because as soon as I picked the kids they couldn't WAIT to tell me what kindness act they performed!  Here are a few acts of kindness they passed on last week:
*Boy 3 asks two kids to be his friend while playing on the playground and then he played tag with them. (He still does not know their names and that was on Tuesday! :)
*Girl ask a little girl that always plays by herself to play come play with her and her friends.
*Boy 2 helped a little boy with his math.
*On lollipop day each child took extra money (their own money) to buy lollipops for kids that didn't bring money to school.
*Boy 2 told a girl he liked her shirt.
*Boy 3 gave his teacher a fossil.
Boy 1 even got into it, his act of kindness is the same each day though - he tells random girls that they are pretty.  Yeah, remember - he is 15.

The kids did great with acts of kindness towards friends and people they don't know.  However it was harder for them to perform act of kindness towards their siblings.  When I started thinking about this it made me realize that it is the same is true for me.  Why am I not nicer to the people I love? Sure, I do act of kindness towards people I love, BUT I don't typically go out of my way to do extra acts of kindness for the people I love.  For example, I send my husband a care package every week or so, but I never include a note telling him how much he means to me.  I just brush it off as "I am too busy, and he knows how I feel - I'm sending him a package - that is enough".  But does he? And really, how long does it take to write a note?  And for the kids, yes, I do all kinds of things for them day in and day out, but do I make them feel special by showing them that extra kindness?  Sometimes, but I can totally improve on it.  This New Year, I am going to work on 'acts of kindness' towards my family.  Last night for example, I let the kids wrestle in the living room, I didn't freak out about the noise level (I have issues with noise - I know, I know) and even got in on the action and guess what - it was FUN! 

If you are interested in getting in on the fun, here are a few more ideas:
Make cookies for your neighbors for no reason.
Make dinner for a family that has a busy night.
Hold the door open for strangers.
Wake up before your spouse and make coffee for them.
Next time you find yourself in a drive-thru buy an extra meal for the homeless person on the corner.
Offer free babysitting for a mom that would never ask.
Help someone with their yard work.
Let someone go in front of you in line.
Bake cookies for your mail carrier, UPS person, garbage collector...(you get the idea)
Write a letter to someone who made a difference in your life, or tell them in person.
Write a letter.
Write your child a letter and put it in the mail.
Have a busy friend and you are going to the grocery store?  Call and ask if you can pick something up for them.
Pick up trash that didn't make it to a trash can.
Put love notes in your husband's lunchbox.
Put love notes in your child's lunchbox.
Leave a generous tip!
Pay someone a compliment at least once a day!
Thank a soldier.
Say Good Morning to strangers (with a smile on your face!)
Send flowers for no reason.
Thank a firefighter.
Coach a youth sports team.
Put coins in a stranger's parking meter.
Donate used clothes.
Donate blood.
Invite someone who is alone over for dinner.
Send a little something special to your child's teacher to thank them for what they do.
Visit a retirement home.
Thank a police officer.
Make a love note for your child with crayons and construction paper, just like they do for you.
Do art projects that are messy with your children. (And don't fret about the cleanup!)
Breakfast in bed!

The most fun random act of kindness was at a Starbucks one day last year.  I was inside the store; I was at the front of the line paying for my coffee.  I looked up as a car was driving away and I told the cashier I wanted to pay the bill for the next person that came through the drive-thru.  I did, they were very thankful and they paid it forward to the next person in the drive-thru, and then same with the next car!  This continued through SEVEN CARS!!!  Inside Starbucks everyone was going wild! The cashier would announce "It happened again" and the inside folks would get all excited!  That was a fun random act of kindness. 

Now go out and make someone's day!
Tracy Spalding
1/15/2012 11:22:13 pm

LOVE this... I do some of these things just to be friendly but to expand on it only makes sense. You are the bomb diggity!

1/16/2012 12:53:35 am

Ever since our bill was paid at pf changs the kids and I have been doing this and it's a blast, once a week we pay for a soldiers coffee at Starbucks or bring donuts to the teachers lounge, all little fun things!!

1/16/2012 02:09:04 am

Well, as somebody who has been the recipient of your random acts of kindness over the past couple years and pretty much daily over the last week, I have to say thank you for your kindness. You are teaching your kids to be great people, just like their mom.

1/16/2012 03:03:43 am

Making soup for a friend with pneumonia
Kids making cards for a friend who broke his arm
providing a front porch for women to relax and unwind
inviting a whole family over to your house for a yummy Korean dinner
Thanks for being kind, we remember it very well.

Cynthia Romero
1/16/2012 03:14:52 am

Wow! I needed to read this!!! Thank you! Love it!


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