Random Acts of Kindness: Celebrate In A Different Kind of Way
article by Cindy G. Foust
Happy month of love readers, as I hope this month’s column finds you healthy, safe and surrounded by your “loved” ones. When I was a child, I always looked forward to February because I always felt it was our one shot at having a snow day, right? Not that we had them that frequently, but when we did, you could always count on school being cancelled. One such time, my family was out enjoying the snow lined hills, my dad pulling us behind the 3-wheeler (look it up, it was once a thing) on an inner tube and mom was inside making hot chocolate. It was straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting I tell you, until I got the great idea to ride my Shetland pony. Nah, she wasn’t having it and after she walked about 5 steps with me on her back, she decided she had enough and bucked me straight over the top of her head. Yeah, not one of my better laid plans. At any rate, February can sometimes bring a Snowcopolypse like we had a few years ago and I am here for it.
Speaking of being here for it, anybody want to hear about my latest experiment? I’ve been contemplating this month’s column for a few weeks and as usual, wondering what in the world I was going to write about. It got me to thinking about the actual month of February and that likely most of us associate it with love and chocolate and candy and all that goes with that. I knew there had to be more, so I looked it up and as it turns out, February is actually chock full of holidays. In case you missed it, GI Joe (with the Kung Fu Grip) has a day of celebration; it’s Great American Pie month; National Goat Yoga month (I’ve always wanted to do that so I think I might celebrate that one); and National Bubblegum Day. Kind of sounds like you can just create a national day to celebrate anything if you ask me. But one that caught my attention (that I have actually written about before) is National Random Act of Kindness Day and readers, I think this is one that we can all get in behind. As it turns out February 17th is the day where random acts of kindness are encouraged, but I’m here to stand on the principle that we should make this a point of our business (Bitsy used to say that) every day. I’m speaking to myself as well and I especially want you to think about how these random acts might impact your children. I don’t really ever get star struck, but I do love Morgan Freeman (think Shawshank Redemption) and he has a quote that I read “How do we change the world? One random act of kindness at a time.” This has always stuck with me, because random acts of kindness can look all sorts of ways on any set of days (you know I’m going to rhyme) and should be top of mind for us. Sometimes it’s the smallest of things that someone does for us that give us the most joy. As my children have turned into young adults, these kinds of columns get me all in my feels. I think about all the things we did together as a family and sometimes those “things” did include random acts of kindness. That’s one thing I have always tried to be intentional about…just trying to make sure my kids knew that it wasn’t all about them. Anybody with me? I think as we muddle along in this sometimes fractured and broken world, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that there is still beauty all around us. Finding it sometimes, or recognizing it rather, means we have to slow down a bit and look for the goodness, the kindness that can be right under our nose. And when it comes to being the “giver” of the kindness, I suppose we have to be intentional in that, too. Not that we aren’t all kind people, I’m not saying that at all, but for me, speaking only about myself, I think I get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and work and family and obligations and it distracts me just enough to miss opportunities to extend kindness. Anyone else feel this way? Anyone? In moving about in our hustle and bustle, it’s still important, however, for our children to see us do things for others that might be random or they might be intentional. Either way, it’s so important for them to be part of these acts and know that they too can contribute to someone’s happiness by being kind. Perhaps we want to buy the person’s food in the line behind us at Taco Bell. Maybe it means actually preparing food and taking it to someone who’s going through a difficult like circumstance. Maybe it’s sending a random Amazon order to someone that includes a good book, a cozy blanket or maybe some chocolate.
Now, back to my experiment. This week as I was walking through Wal-Mart, I decided I was going to speak to every single person I passed. I know this isn’t Marie Curie worthy of a test laboratory, but in the 11 people I saw that morning, 9 of them spoke back, 1 of them hugged me and the other never looked up from her phone. I’m not sure that just speaking to someone is a random act of kindness but it sure made my step lighter as I wandered through the store, stalking people I could speak to. As a result, I’m probably on the bulletin board in the breakroom at Wal-Mart for stalkers, but hey, it felt good to be nice.
So what says you, readers? Am I getting anywhere with any of you or am I just simply rambling on in the lines of my column? Being kind is free…it doesn’t always mean you have to buy someone something. Perhaps you just sit down at the dining room table with your children and send cards to your family members or friends. Or maybe your children just watch you opening a door for someone or helping them get their groceries in their car. Or maybe it is tipping the carhop at Sonic a little extra…I can’t imagine their job in the coldest and hottest of days and a few extra dollars would make them feel appreciated. Just remember that no matter the circumstances or the acts you choose, your children are watching and the impression you make by being kind will be so impactful in their young eyes. As we start this year together (what is now my 10th lest anyone forget), I pray that we all use our gifts, our resources and our time to give someone else joy. Nothing makes you feel better than to know that your random or intentional gift of kindness is responsible for making someone else feel special and loved.
Cindy G. Foust is a wife, mom, author and blogger. You can find her blog at the alphabetmom.com for weekly columns about home life, parenting, small business stories and insight with a smidgen of literacy. Give her a like or follow on Facebook and Instagram.