Today is my wife’s birthday. Right now she’s out shopping with our daughter, Dot, because it’s one of the things that makes her happy. I believe everyone should try to make sure people are happy on their birthday. It’s really kind of given. It’s their special day so how do THEY want to spend it? It isn’t about what you would want or what’s convenient for you. It’s about them. Of course it begs the question, why do we only wait for special occasions to do special things for people? There are things we can do every day to make sure we add some happiness to the world.
Yakko was reading a book from the library about how each of us has an invisible bucket and how you treat other people either fills their bucket or empties it. That’s what’s great about kindness. It’s a concept that kids can easily understand. One of the first rules they teach at school is to treat others the way you would like to be treated. I think sometimes we forget about that rule as we get older. It’s possible that we get so caught up in our own day-to-day issues that we forget about other people.
I really love random acts of kindness. I’m a big fan. I think I enjoy it because of the complete surprise more than anything. It can come in all shapes and sizes. It can be a monetary act where you pay for the person behind you in line at the drive-thru or toll booth. It can be something that makes life easier such as clearing the neighbor’s driveway of snow or helping someone lift a bulky, heavy item into their cart at the store. The act can be big or small. The main idea is that you’re doing something special for someone else with no ulterior motive. You don’t expect anything in return other than how it makes you feel to help another person.
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has a monthly calendar that lists a different act of kindness for every day of the year. I believe today’s is “open the door for another person.” That’s one I actually try to do every day. I used to hold the car door open for my wife. Now that we have kids, I don’t do it as often. It’s not because I no longer care, it’s really that by the time I get Dot buckled in her car seat Mrs. O’Doyle has already gotten in the car. But I still try to hold the doors open at stores for people when possible. For people looking for ideas of what to do, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a nice source for ideas. They do sponsor the Random Acts of Kindness Week which I understand but struggle with the concept a little bit. If there is a week set aside for it, is it really random? I think part of the key of the random act of kindness is the time it happens as much as it is who it happens to. A random act of kindness can be for someone you know. It doesn’t have to be for a random person. My challenge to everyone is to make a conscious effort to do one act of kindness each day for a week. If you like how it made you feel and how it made the people you helped feel, go ahead and keep extending that week for as long as you like.