Nothing has transformed my vision of the world more than an act of kindness. It’s the small, every day things we can do that will add up to great change in humanity. And I can think of no better way to honor all of the people affected by September 11th, 2001 than by doing a 21 day kindness challenge.
When I’m not getting inspired by the Faith in Humanity Restored Tumblr or the folks at the Birthday Project, I find ideas for acts of kindness from Kindspring.org. And they are running a 21 day kindness challenge, which kicked off on September 11th. One of my favorite posts, poor photos included, is my day where I was stranded in the airport and I devoted it to doing random acts of kindness. There is a sneaky thrill in “kindness bombing” people – and even though the person may have no idea who you are, you are so privileged to watch the ripple of kindness spread.
Acts of kindness can be anonymous or known, small or large, but they are always meaningful. They don’t require tons of money or a saint-like attitude. You just have to show up. And the more you do them, the more addicting the feeling is of doing good and seeing a better world unfold right in front of your eyes.
Here are my kindness ideas for the next 21 days:
1. Be kind to myself so I can take better care of others.
2. Speak with love and patience to all my students, and provide gentle encouragement
3. Send a copy of my favorite book – Daring Greatly – to a friend going through a rough time.
4. Open doors for people.
5. Pick up trash in my neighborhood.
6. Buy coffee for the next person in line.
7. Give at least $1 to every homeless person I see, and ask them if I can give them a hug.
8. Put inspiring notes in public places
9. Knock on 10 doors and offer a free snack
10. Visit an elderly person
11. Give a surprise gift
12. Reconnect with an old friend
13. Call a mentor and thank them
14. Offer to babysit
15. Help out my neighbor or welcome a new neighbor
16. Thank an eco-friendly business + hug a tree in public
17. Leave money in a vending machine
18. Say thank you to a janitor
19. Bring a house plant and inspiration jar to work
20. Organize a volunteer activity
21. Email kindness stories
One things that helps me do these seemingly crazy acts of kindness is to hand out Smile Cards. They explain the mission of acts of kindness and help me alleviate my anxiety that people are going to think I’m some nutjob. But I want to live in a world where ALL people are seen, valued, loved, and well-cared for, where society lives in balance with the environment, and there is more belief in the miracle than belief in the disaster. Even if you do one act of kindness, it will put you on a whole new path of love & discovery. So please, if you end up doing an act of kindness – please comment and let me know how it went! You’ll be doing another act of kindness by sharing your joy with me.