When 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,
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).
- Personal Story: Joy in the unexpected Rush here, rush there. Most of us have no time for mistakes. My GPS said, “keep left, keep left.” And I believed it – and whizzed past the exit for Route 1 that would take me to Old Town Alexandria, VA near DC. Then I saw a sign – “National...
- Passion for the land ignites activism Solo Elisa Young moved to rural southeast Ohio in the mid-1990s to help take care of her grandmother. She returned to live a sustainable life on a farm that had been in her family for seven generations and where she had spent her childhood summers. Little did she know then...
- Music keeps him young Arnald Gabriel is off to conduct in Chicago, Miami, and other cities. You’d never know he’s almost 90. He looks 60. He packs his favorite baton. It’s light, made from balsa wood. He chose it because it balances perfectly on his finger. To a conductor, every detail is crucial. ...
- It’s all about art… and community “Art is something people can disagree about in a way that brings them together,” Pat Miller said. She should know. Miller has been working in community arts for 30 years and has brought lots of people and organizations together as community volunteer....
- Liquid soap in plastic bottles is horrific for our environment Liquid soaps in their little plastic bottles may seem convenient. They don’t dribble their suds or coagulate in a soap dish. But they have at least two huge drawbacks. Going back to the bar can solve a couple of big problems....
FlyingHighSolo.comCelebrating special people, good ideas, and useful actions
Keep on top of what's new – subscribe to Flying High Solo! You'll get a brief email alerting you to new articles. (Your email is safe -- we will not share it with anyone).
What readers are saying
"amazing variety of topics"
"an intelligent, strong, creative, eclectic approach .... that we don't get a chance to read everyday"
"very cool and intelligent"
Bella DePaulo's blog for Psychology Today, "the truth about singlism..." News, analysis, facts, and stories about being single in America