Sixteen days into the new year…are you spreading love, kindness, peace, & joy? We all deserve to receive the four precious gifts and we all owe it to ourselves and other to give them freely. The older I get (I’m 21, with 21 years of experience, cough cough), the more I realize life really is all about the relationships we build, the love we share, and the legacy we leave behind. I know, a little too sappy for 8:55 a.m., but I just cannot help it.
My husband and I are coming to a major crossroad. In a few short months there will be a lot more room and a lot less noise at our house. During the past year our oldest has moved into her first apartment nearby and works in healthcare and the second has started her own life journey in Florida. This summer, our third will graduate and move three hours away to begin college before joining the military. This leaves just the two of us, plus our spunky, four-year old diva. Talk about mixed blessings!
We love our children (esp. when they are sleeping) and are excited for this new chapter in our lives, but it is bittersweet and a little sad. The older three are truly grown and ready to spread their wings the youngest will now become an only child and miss her siblings. So, what is a mom to do with all this “mothering” that she still carries within her? Obviously, devote it to the youngest (and the dear husband), but there has to be more. Over the past few years, as the older ones needed us less and less (well they think they need us less), I’ve definitely become more motherly towards my students. In fact, on some occasions, I’ve “mothered” anyone who seemed down, lost, sad, needing celebrating, etc.
Reflecting on this brings a plethora of ideas to mind. Nothing groundbreaking, just a rekindling of an age-old idea. Random Acts of Kindness. For instance, this morning while checking our during an unusually large grocery trip, I notice a young girl in line behind me with about four items. Before paying, I told the woman checking us out to ring up the young lady’s items on my tab. It was like an automatic high! The young girl asked my name and said “Thank you so much”! The woman checking us out grinned from ear to ear and my heart swelled with delight. You hear stories like this often, but I’ve never actually done this. Well, let me just say I should’ve been doing this for a long time! My dear husband was a little confused as to why I was lingering to talk with both ladies, until I shared what happened. Then he was grinning too. See? Kindness is so infectious! It really does change the whole trajectory of the receiver’s day, those who witness it, and certainly the giver!
In reflecting on the interaction while driving home, I decided that this needs to be a mainstay in my everyday activities. I’m already big on manners, but what about actions? So many come to mind for planting seeds of peace and joy through showing love and kindness. Who wouldn’t agree that our world could use a little, NO, A LOT of this especially after all the heartache and turmoil we see on the news every single day.
What if we all committed to one random act of kindness (RAK) each day? Some big, some little, some costly, some free. It all depends on what resources you have available when you see an opportunity. Let the brainstorming begin! Just a few ideas I can come up with off the top of my head. What about you? What would you add to this list? Add your ideas in the comments. The more, the better! Together we are more creative and can make a bigger positive impact on our small little corner of the world.
- Buy a coffee for a stranger.
- Donate books and magazines you’ve read, cards, games, crafts, etc. to a senior living center.
- Donate diapers, wipes, formula, and gently used clothing and toys to a children’s shelter or day care center.
- Donate food, newspaper, old towels, trash bags, etc. to animal shelters.
- Donate coloring books, colors, puzzles, books, etc. to a children’s ward at a local hospital.
- Anonymously pay for someone’s gas fill up.
- Adopt a local senior or college student with no close family members during holiday seasons.
- Deliver home-baked goodies to your local fire and/or police station, senior center, or school front office.
- Offer to drive someone with limited transportation to an appointment or for errands.
- Send a note (snail mail) to brighten someone’s day to a different person daily for one month.
- Call a long-distance friend or relative each week and reconnect.
- Send a note and care package to a random service member overseas.
- Adopt a missionary and send notes of encouragement, care packages, and needed supplies.
- Pay for a meal for someone when dining out.
- Tip larger than you normally would (really large).
- Pay for groceries or medication for the person in line behind you.
- Rub your spouse’s feet, shoulders, neck, etc. every day for a week.
- Let your child pick choose dinner and a movie once a week and put your cell phone and work away for 3 hours.
- Anonymously donate copy paper, pencils, erasers, hand sanitizer, stickers, etc. to your child’s teacher (or a life skills class if you don’t have school age children).
- Anonymously send/give flowers to someone who needs cheering up.
- Leave baked goodies inside your mailbox for your mail carrier or on a neighbor’s front stoop.
- Offer to babysit (or pet sit) for a friend or neighbor for free for a few hours.
- Allow someone to go ahead of you when you’re in line.
- Volunteer your time to an animal shelter, senior center, food pantry, or other community service organization.
I could probably sit here for HOURS thinking up creative ways to spread love and kindness, but my school work beckons. What about you? Can you add to this list? Are you ready to spread love and kindness to your small area of the world? I would love to read your ideas in the comments section.