I found out today that a few weeks ago was Random Acts of Kindness Week! I’m disappointed that I missed it, but I’m glad that it was brought to my attention. I remember hearing about random acts of kindness, or RAOKs, when I was in my late teens or early twenties. The premise is that you do something nice for someone else, whether it’s a friend, family member, acquaintance or stranger, out of the blue, with no real reason, and with no expectation of anything in return. The world would be a better place if we all occasionally committed RAOKs, and I think it’s a great thing to encourage our kids to do.
Talk to your kids about RAOKs, and brainstorm with them to come up with ways to make someone else smile without expecting anything in return. Here are a few to get you started:
- Write someone a nice note or letter, and send it snail-mail. This is particularly well-received, because in today’s electronic age, handwritten notes have fallen by the wayside, and the mailman typically only brings junk mail and bills.
- Let someone go ahead of you in the grocery store. This is easy to do if the person behind you has only a couple of items, and is especially nice when the person in question is a mother with a cranky toddler or an elderly person or pregnant mama, either of whom may have trouble standing for a long period of time.
- Pay for the person behind you at a fast food drive-thru or a tollbooth.
- Kids can do a sibling’s chores one morning.
- Pack an extra cookie or cupcake in a bagged lunch, with the intention of giving the treat to someone sitting near you.
- Stand outside a store, and open the door for everyone coming or going.
- Offer to take somebody’s grocery cart to the cart corral after they are done loading their groceries into their car.
- Spend an hour or so picking up garbage at a local park.
- Bring flowers to a neighbor for no reason at all. Even more fun, leave the flowers on the doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run! Watch their surprise from afar.
As you talk to your kids, they’re sure to come up with a lot more ideas for everyone in the family. Challenge them to commit one RAOK per week, five per month, or whatever number seems reasonable to you. Not only will your child learn to put others’ needs first at times, but he’ll begin to see the truth behind the saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Do you have some ideas for Random Acts of Kindness to share? Have you committed one recently? Share your story!