There seems to be an increasing amount of negativity in our world these days. So much hate and blame on every conceivable topic and fingers pointed every which way at who is in the wrong. It is so easy to find yourself absorbed in all of it.
The past several months I have found myself doing some of these same things. I have been angry and bitter at situations close to me, wanting to find fault in others actions. What I found was this was only making me feel worse. I needed to find a way to move beyond these awful feelings.
Princess Diana was once quoted as saying:
"Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you".
I have done many RAK's (Random Acts of Kindness) before but the vast majority have been between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have done the 12 days of Christmas numerous times, paid for peoples meals in the drive through, given total strangers store gift cards, etc. I love doing it because it just feels like the right thing to do. For the most part I try to be anonymous, frankly it is more fun that way. I've been surprised at the reaction of most people when you try to give them, say, a gift card. The first question is usually WHY? I want to that is why.
Last fall while on vacation I had the chance to do something as well. I was attending a college football game and was in line at the concessions stand before the game started. The woman in front of me had placed her order but was informed that they didn't take credit/debit cards when she tired to pay for it. She told the employee that she didn't have any cash on her and everyone just stood there in awkward silence for a moment. I stepped up and said I'd pay for it. The lady said "are you serious?!?" Sure why not? I handed over the money and the woman gave me a huge hug and said thank you so much and started to cry. It made me feel great to help someone out, and turned out to be the best thing about the game as my team lost miserably.
A couple of different things have reminded me recently of the joy of preforming random acts of kindness. First, there is a show produced by Brigham Young University called Random Acts. It is new this year and they do various things for people. Their acts range from super simple to quite elaborate things. You can even write in and nominate people to have them do things for. The second thing was an article that led me to this website Random Acts of Kindness. Their mission is simple and daunting at the same time...to make the world a better place. They share stories of Random Acts, give ideas of things you can do, even provide lesson plans for grades K-12 to teach kids about being kind.
This is what my heart needed! I needed to change my focus to start seeing and doing good. The tricky part has been trying to think WAY outside the box of what I would normally do. I am having to come up with no cost ideas for the time being and that has proven to be a challenge for me. I have seen some fun ideas of writing letters of general encouragement and leaving them to be found. Then the part of me that watches far to many crime shows kicks in and thinks what if the bomb squad gets called in because someone found a mysterious/abandoned letter. Or the fear that someone will think it is laced with anthrax....seriously I worry about these things! I've seen where people leave notes in books at the library but who knows when that book will get checked out next.
The current plan is to create some things with the over abundance of craft supplies at my disposal. I'll have to keep you posted.
I challenge all of you to look for opportunities to pay it forward and do some random acts of kindness. I would love to hear what you have done or are planning to do. Remember you can include your whole family in the fun. What a great way to keep the kids busy during the summer!