Hi! I’ve found myself thinking a lot lately about RAOK’s Random Acts Of Kindness. You will see the term being bandied around a lot online and I found myself thinking about just what it means.
According to Wikipedia, “A random act of kindness is a selfless act performed by a person or people wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual person or people”
So it is ‘random’ ie you don’t KNOW where the act is going to end up. I’m thinking that if it’s not random, it would then simply be a ‘gift’.
Not that there is anything wrong with a gift, mind you, but a gift should be recognised as a gift and not be confused as a RAOK.
What is a gift of kindness then? It is something you do to help out another or others, to bring them joy. It is not something designed to make YOU feel good, although I am sure if you have ever done something for another you found that you gained from the experience anyway. Your gain, though, is not the primary focus of a AOK.
I did some research and found the following sites and both provide many resources to assist with ideas and links:
I find there is a lot of overlap with other terms like “pay it forward” and “acts of kindness” so I am making my own definition if you like. I think the world can only be a better place with more kindness shared. Does it matter if its not random? No! Does it still count if I plan it? Absolutely! Do I have to tell anyone what I have done to make it worthwhile? No!!! Do I have to call it a RAOK? No!! Can I simply try to live my life with more kindness? Absolutely!
I have removed the ‘random’ aspect. I think to make acts of kindness a part of our life, we need to plan them and practice them until they become a constant, an automatic behaviour.
I found a wonderful quote:
” When we carry out an act of kindness it is a message from one heart to another, an act of love, an unspoken “I care” statement.”
I know a lot of people think “What can I do?” “I can’t afford to pay for anyone else.” “I don’t have the money to buy anyone flowers etc”
So, let’s consider some AOK that don’t cost money, but are priceless in their value – things that we can all do. I am going to go even further!
I am going to challenge you to join me in using the next 30 days to make our world a kinder place. Are you up for it?
Why 30 days? Well I remember reading somewhere that it takes that long to develop a new habit!
So,starting tomorrow, I am going to ‘practice’ being kinder. I hope you will join me!!
What can we do? Well, we all have families, people we share our lives with and each of them is a special person – how long is it since you have told them that? Maybe we could start there – more kindness in our homes.
Then we have our neighbours – I have a young family on one side and an elderly couple on the other. I am sure I can think of some way that I can add to their pleasure – even a simple wave and smile. More kindness in our neighbourhoods.
Next we can think outside of our immediate environment – our friends! How valuable are our friends in our lives? Let’s make them feel ‘valued’. Offer to look after the kids so they can have a night out, offer to do the school pick-up if you know they have a cold, like their posts on FB! lol
What about pre-school, school. Maybe you could tell the teacher how much you value them and the part they play in your child’s life (if in fact you do). What about the administration staff that keep things humming and you informed? The groundsmen that keep the school playgrounds looking great? The canteen staff?
Maybe you go to the gym – could you clean some equipment for the next person? Get someone some water?
Then to the supermarket – Maybe you can take the time to help that little old lady trying to reach something, smile if someone crashes into your trolley and reassure the other person that it is OK, let the person with just a few things go before you at the checkout, help someone carry their groceries to their car.
I’m sure you can think of lots of great things to try. My only word of caution is to stay safe! Don’t place yourself in any situations where you may be harmed.
Plan, Practice, Spread kindness!!
Until next time
PS. As I don’t believe in the need to ‘tell everyone’ I will not be asking you to share your acts but would love it if you signed up to face the challenge with me.