berries2When taking a walk, I happened upon these magenta berries – so unexpected and so beautiful.  I love discovering small, unexpected gifts of nature.  Then I wondered – what if I tuned in to small acts of human beauty, of kindness?

Usually I, like most people, am so busy getting things done that I don’t really notice, appreciate – or often commit small acts of kindness in everyday life.

Especially today – with the unimaginable tragedy of the school shootings in Connecticut so fresh and raw, reaching out with human kindness seems even more important.  After we strip away our cars, I-Phones, obsessions about our weight and our possessions –  we realize what is most important is kindness toward each other.

I decided the other day I wanted to reward kindnesses.  So I’m asking people to send in stories of small acts of kindness and then I will randomly send a person a week a $5 reward.

8th Grader had the idea

Of course, when I had the idea of rewarding unexpected acts of kindness, I Googled it.  And found I was late to this idea – beaten by an eighth grader in Kansas.  According to a story in the Topeka-Capital Journal, Mary Kreiger instituted a similar initiative last year.  She set up a system in which she asked teachers to reward students for acts of kindness with a $10 gift certificate donated by Downtown Lawrence .  She wanted to remain anonymous.  Not only did she beat me to the idea, she also set up funders and doubled my $5 idea into $10.

Not only that, there’s an online organization, Help Others,

Cards available to download or order from Help Others.

started by some college students in 2003 that collects stories of kindnesses and provides “smile cards” free for people to give out to spread kindnesses.  The site also has ideas on ways to commit small acts of kindness.

These young people impress me – they have taken action to make the world a better place.  They know how important small acts of kindness are.  And I congratulate them on their initiatives.

For me, I’m going to start small.  First I’m going to commit to doing one small act of kindness each week from now on for a stranger.

Here is my offer to you —  send in – in the comments section below – a brief write-up of what you have done lately as a small act of random kindness.  Each week I’ll randomly select one of you and  send you $5.  It’s just a token to show you’re recognized and appreciated in your efforts to spread kindness.

Post by Bojinka Bishop

Postscript 1 Act 1:  Who knew I would be tested so soon?  Just took a walk… in the middle of the sidewalk was a small black plastic bag – and having walked dogs before, I was pretty sure it was a bag of dog poop.  First I walked by it.  As I walked, I thought – I just made a public commitment to be kind.  And my brain queried – does picking up this bag and walking 3/4 of a mile with it to throw it in trash constitute a kindness?  To whom?  Then I thought – to walkers like me who don’t have to decide what to do – and to keep the place neat.  So my first act!  (I wonder what the next will be?)

Act 2: My next act occurred at a doctor’s waiting room – so small, but appreciated.  I simply opened the door for a woman on crutches (while others just sat.)  The woman smiled widely and said, “People are so nice here.”  When a woman with a small child in a  stroller was exiting, someone who had sat through my act, got up to open the door for her.  Might I hope that my act stimulated hers?  Tell your stories in comments below.

Acts 3 and 4+: Giving a few dollars to a street person with 3 children; letting a car in front of me, out of side streets. (3 times).


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Comment(s) on Seeing small beauties leads to rewarding acts of kindness

  1. Jan Garske says:

    Great ideas. I will pass this on to others as well. Jan

  2. Jean A says:

    A group of college students in our town dress up in comfortable ninja-style costumes with homemade masks and drop in on a meeting (prior clandestine approval received from meeting organizer) to randomly hand out flowers to attendees while performing a “giving” dance. The audience is pleasantly surprised and touched by this show of kindness. The local florist provides flowers for these “flower ninjas” for free because she wants to support them in their sweet endeavor to share a little love without reward or recognition.

    And now the florist is getting MY business. I only know she does this for free because one of the ninja’s told me. I think if we keep our eyes and ears open around us we’ll see more of this going on then we realized!

  3. Great blog! Just smiling at people is a great act of kindness that then spreads to others!

  4. Jean says:

    Today Carla and I shared our beignets with the couple next to us at the restaurant! Saved us some calories and gave them a never-before tasted treat (does this count?)

    Then on our way out, there were 2 hours left on our parking permit so I shared it with a woman on her way to a job interview who had not been in the city before!

    • Bojinka Bishop says:

      Dear Jean,

      Yes – those count! Two acts of kindness in one day — Congratulations! You’ve added a big scoop of kindness to the world.

  5. Carla Ficke says:

    Eleven women volunteer weekly — we are Threshold Choir in St. Joseph Hospital, Denver. We arrive rushed or tired, and then all are filled to overflowing — the circle of comfort, joy, and kindness goes ’round and ’round. We have been singing bedside to patients for 4 years now — and to families, MDs,RNs, CNAs, housekeeping staff, SWs,Chaplains! As a recent retiree, volunteer-“work” feels more personally rewarding and important than ever.