It’s Festival time and an opportunity to create your own Random Acts of Kindness and Good Deeds. A few years ago I made up dozens of signs and posted them around the Festival that had tear off notes with line such as ‘take as much as you need’ with tear off words such as courage, love, strength, patience and so on. It was simple, entertaining and fun.
Making your own RAOK can make someone else’s day and often doing the simplest thing can bring a smile to another person’s face. What’s more it can be contagious. Science supports that doing something good for someone has major psychological effects for both the giver and the receiver. This then has a roll on effect has others continuing your work therefore, benefiting the whole community.
Many years ago I remember being stuck in a traffic jam with my brother near the MCG. A car had broken down in the left lane and was causing tempers to be frayed and much horn honking at the poor driver. My brother pulled up behind the broken down car and said ‘come on, let’s help.’ Within five minutes we had managed to push the car far enough off the road that traffic could resume its normal route. That kindly act has stuck with me and the appreciation on the face of the driver still brings a smile to mine.
Don’t do an act of kindness if you’re looking for reward, acknowledgement or notoriety. That defeats the purpose. Just the joy of knowing you’ve made someone’s day a little better.
In the words of aviator Amelia Earhart, “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”
To get your started, I’ve put together for you a list of ideas.
- Walk you friend’s dog.
- Take a friend to the movies – your shout.
- Give a tip when you get exceptional service.
- Help a neighbour by volunteering to take their bins out or in on rubbish day.
- Join a local Clean Up Australia Day group.
- Make a pact with yourself to always open the door for people.
- Offer to take a photo of tourists on the camera / phone.
- Someone asks for directions – don’t point, take them.
- Pick up random rubbish and put in a bin.
- New neighbours – bring them a welcome gift.
- Haven’t spoken to an old friend in a while – give them a call / write them a letter.
- Help a parent struggling with a pram.
- Buy local food, produce and wares.
- Let someone else take that parking spot – with a big smile on your face.
- Donate blood.
- Bake for your colleagues at work – doesn’t have to be a special occasion.
- See someone eating on their own, ask if you can join them and strike up a conversation.
- Donate goods to charity.
- Volunteer! Soup kitchen, half-way house, senior citizens home.
- Help a tourist find their way around your town.
- Tell a parent who great their child is.
- Bring your shopping cart back to the market.
- Offer to a friend to babysit their kids.
- Become an organ donor.
- Be kind. Just be nice to people.
- Compliment someone who is working hard at the gym.
- Donate money to your favourite charity.
- Make dinner for a single parent, new mum, someone who is sick.
- Say thank you to the bus driver, garbage driver, postman and so on.
- Listen. Listen to your friends. Really listen and don’t make a judgement.
- Give your seat on public transport.
- Donate books to your local library.
- Put a call out to friends and family for blankets, towels and pillowslips to donate to an animal shelter.
- Sponsor a child in a developing country.
- Help a friend with a fundraiser.
- Offer to pick up or drop off a friend’s kids to school.
- Look after a friend’s pet while they are away.
- Give someone flowers for no special reason.
- Leave a small gift for someone in a random place.
- See someone at a party looking alone – go over and talk to them, introduce them to others.
- Put sweet notes in your child’s lunchbox.
- Plant trees where they are really needed.
- Take your home living magazines to a local cafe.
- Volunteer for meals on wheels.
- Use less energy and water.
- Wave to people with a smile – just because you can.
- Adopt a pet.
- Become a foster parent or big brother / big sister.
- Make some inspiring signs and post them around town.
- Bake for the CFA or other fire firefighters.
Now it’s your turn. What random acts have you done or would like to do to bring joy to others. Leave a comment below.