“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world.” ~ Anne Frank
A wise friend of mine told me that sometimes she feels so overwhelmed with the need and despair in the world that she concentrates on what she can do in the 20 mile radius around her.
She asks herself “how can she leave her family and community better off each day”? That comment touched me deeply. Each morning when we open our eyes we have another opportunity to leave the world a better place by how we show up. Each act of kindness sends a ripple of positive energy into the world and that energy touches every single person through the ripple effect, including us!
Developing a habit of kindness can take some work at the onset. Culturally, we are often distracted by the intensity of our lives and our endless to-do lists. We often miss moments to offer a kind word or gesture. Do we smile at strangers in the market? Hold doors open for people? Let someone have a much sought after parking spot? Show patience with family members? Or let that lost tourist pass in front of you with a smile and wave?
Most importantly, we are the role models who teach our children how to show empathy and kindness. They learn more from our actions and behaviors than the verbal instruction we give them on how to behave.
Acts of kindness can be large or small or anything in between. Annually, on Thanksgiving with my extended family, we put together bags of necessities for the homeless in San Francisco and walk around personally looking them in the eye with a smile and passing them out. This is a larger effort that takes time, money and some planning.
But acts of kindness can be small and equally powerful. Recently, seeing a family about to board a red eye flight with very young screaming children, my initial reaction was irritation ( and fear). Engaging this kindness concept, by remembering that it wasn’t long ago that I had screaming kids on a red eye, I chose instead to engage the family in conversation and with empathy about how difficult ( and worth it) it can be to travel with small children. Just this short empathetic exchange seemed to calm their nerves knowing they were not alone in this rite of passage. And it also completely transformed my irritation into compassion.
We make decisions about whether to be kind in every moment. Here are some fun and powerful ways to create our own home-grown kindness campaign and ramp up our personal and family kindness quotient:
Create a game or competition around placing more Random Acts Of Kindness into your community.
Create a wall of random acts of kindness in your home. Cut out hearts and each night write down that day’s random acts of kindness and tape them up. Watch how the energy of kindness infiltrates your home just by displaying your family’s actions.
Consider bringing your children to a food bank or animal shelter to donate some food or time.
A fun game to play:
Pick a number out of a jar each day for how many random acts each person is going to accomplish that day or week. Share some examples with one another to help foster ideas. This is helpful for both young and older children.
Consider a celebratory dinner at the end of the kindness campaign where a favorite family meal is made. Flowers and candles can spruce up the event from an ordinary dinner to something extra-ordinary.
Finally, share what you’ve done on social media. Allow your actions of kindness to inspire other families to also create kindness campaigns.
If we want the world to be a more kind and peace-FULL place, then we must take action to offer kindness out into the world. When many individuals, create a little bit of kindness everyday, we create a wave of positive energy that can lift an individual, family and community. Why not give it a try?