“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” James Matthew Barrie
Last month, Ellen Degeneres was honored as Choice Humanitarian at the People’s Choice Awards. I love the fact that she modestly reflected on how strange it was to get an award for being nice, generous and kind when that is what we are all supposed to do for one another. It’s the point of being a human. Any coincidence her last name sounds like she is De Generous?
For the longest time, I had trouble with the concept of “Random Act of Kindness.” It wasn’t the “Kindness” part that hung me up but the “Random”. The random acts seemed like they were premeditated so how could they get credit for being random? And some of acts just seemed like common courtesy.
Personally I see kindness as a simple act of courtesy. It’s following The Golden Rule.
Some examples labeled as “Random Acts of Kindness” are just being being a thoughtful friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor including:
- Invite a friend to the movies or dinner
- Bring flowers to a friend or neighbor
- Text a friend to say you are thinking of them
- Bring a treat to share with co-workers
- Give someone you love an unexpected hug
- Bring in the neighbor’s trash bins
- Shovel someone’s walk or driveway.
Other “acts” are what is expected as a decent citizen:
- Return a shopping cart to its proper place
- Be a courteous driver
- Smile at strangers
- Give away clothing you no longer need
- Hold the door open for the person behind you
And others may take a little extra effort but will bring joy for strangers:
- Put change in a vending machine
- Drop off a toy or game at a homeless shelter
- Pay for the person behind you at the drive-thru
- Donate $1 to the next tip jar you see
- Show support to an artist
- Spend a morning donating your time at an animal shelter
- Make a blanket and donate it to a child in need through a charity like Project Linus
House of Cards star, Kevin Spacey, stated “If you are lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down.” In fact, it’s good karma to lend a hand to others- no matter your level of success in life.
Ultimately, getting hung up on how Random an act of Kindness is misses the point completely. The ultimate goal is acting upon opportunities that surround us every day and making our world a better place for every creature great and small.
Now go forth and spread kindness.
Karen Loucks Rinedollar is the Founder and Denver Coordinator of the children’s charity Project Linus. She is a popular speaker amongst organizations cultivating a culture of kindness by their students, colleagues and members. More about Karen