“There is no small act of kindness. Every compassionate act makes large the world.” —Mary Anne Radmacher, American writer, and artist
With so many tragedies in the news, World Kindness Day, Nov. 13, could not come at a better time. But can one day — or month — put a dent in the accumulation of hate and grief affecting so many?
Yes. And you can see evidence of that everywhere — if you look for it. They are the ripples, the one kind act that sparks the next act, and the next. Even in the midst of heartbreaking stories, eventually, the river of human compassion begins to reshape and redefine the event.
And this is where we can pull kids in. Kindness is a superpower. Each one of us — kids included — have the power to make someone else feel good or bad at any given moment. And, once a child experiences that superpower they know that even though they are small, young, or inexperienced, their actions have the power to impact others.
5 Truths About Kindness
Kindness is often the harder choice. Some people equate kindness with weakness. Not true. Often, kindness takes a Herculean effort. It’s easier to be flippant, rude, and self-serving at times — especially online where emotions can run high and clicks come so easily. It’s harder to stop, look at the needs of others, take the time to empathize, and choose to act in a way that benefits another person.
- Small is powerful. You don’t have to stage big acts of kindness. Even our smallest actions can have a big impact that continues to resonate in ways we can’t anticipate.
- Kindness is a win-win. Just like smiling, kindness boosts your mood, your relationships, and your outlook. Kindness literally makes you glow from the inside out.
- Kindness changes everything — you and those caught in its ripple effect. One act of kindness can change the trajectory of a person’s day or even life. The stories are endless.
- Kindness is healthy. Connection with others in small — even micro-moments — can boost your immune system and lift depression and anxiety. Kindness reinforces that we are not alone and that human connection is one of the most powerful, healing medicines within our immediate reach (no prescription needed).
- Kindness costs nothing. Sure, you can give gifts and spend some cash, but the majority of kind acts cost nothing. Give your time, your focus, your smile, a helping hand, or an encouraging word and see how that multiplies your emotional wealth.
One of the best ways to explain the power of kindness to kids (outside of the concept) is to become kindness in front of them. By modeling kindness and being others-focused, we take kindness from an idea to a very real force that teaches kids to become powerful participants and leaders — rather than bystanders or reactors — in the world around them.
Here are just a few ideas your family can explore to kick up the kindness quotient in your home and community. Even if this list takes you 60 or 90 days, the important thing is to begin.
30 Days of Kindness
Day 1: Online a lot? Read posts and comment sincerely and with a genuine heart with the people in your online community. If someone needs encouragement, information, or help, take the time to provide that.
Day 2: Pay for someone’s coffee in the car behind you.
Day 3: Patrol the neighborhood with your kids and pick up trash for an hour.
Day 4: As a family, visit an elderly neighbor and offer an hour of your time to do whatever needs to be done around the house. If you have three family members, that’s three hours of giving.
Day 5: Compliment three random people today.
Day 6: Donate food to a local food pantry as a family.
Day 7: Honor your favorite teachers together with notes of thanks or small, handmade gifts.
Day 8: Go to Yelp or Facebook and compliment or show public appreciation for local business owners who have served your family well in the past.
Day 9: Make cookies or a fruit basket for your local fire, EMT, or police station.
Day 10: Bring in your neighbor’s trashcans.
Day 11: Paint encouraging rocks and leave them throughout your community to be discovered by others.
Day 12: Like to write? Write a poem or note of hope and leave them in public places for others to find.
Day 13: See an overwhelmed mom in the grocery store? Offer to help her carry her groceries to the car or occupy her kids in line.
Day 14: Get a stack of postcards and together, write I miss you notes to relatives and friends who live far away.
Day 15: Upload at least one encouraging post a week that sparks kindness in others. If you tend to be cynical online, think twice before posting words that can bring others down or feed negativity.
Day 16: Donate coloring books and crayons to the children’s hospital.
Day 17: Write soldiers serving overseas thank you notes.
Day 18: Volunteer at a local soup kitchen for a day.
Day 19: Is your family artistic? Paint several pieces of art and donate them to the local retirement home for residents.
Day 20: Buy extra school supplies for teachers.
Day 21: Listen to the people around you. Really listen.
Day 22: Pay an old debt.
Day 23: Cook a meal for a sick, grieving, depressed, or elderly friend.
Day 24: Give a gift to the school custodian to thank him or her for all their hard work.
Day 25: Smile, laugh, and take yourself lightly. It’s contagious.
Day 26: See someone being bullied? Stand up and help online or off.
Day 27: Donate socks, gloves, or other supplies to the local homeless shelter.
Day 28: Surprise your mail carrier with a thank you note or gift card.
Day 29: Call your grandparents and ask them about their childhood. Write it down.
Day 30: Talk to someone new at school. Reach out to those who are different.
We can never predict what will happen when we stop, look around, and extend a kind act to another person. That action may bring strange look, a smile, or even render incredible results. The important thing is to get started. Experience trumps talk every time and experience changes the world from the inside out.
The ideas for World Kindness Day are endless. Use the hashtag #WorldKindnessDay or #KindnessDay on Twitter to share your stories throughout the month. Be inspired by others and know that you too can encourage others to choose kindness every single day. What have you got to lose?