Small, Random Acts of Kindness

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O, the power of kindness
So gentle, loving, meek,
It is indeed a language
Even the dumb can speak;
The deaf can understand it,
It sheds a shining ray;
Then let us strive to make it
Our guide from day to day.
Eva Alice

Kindness, as this poem suggests, needs no words in order to be understood. A universal language in the truest sense, its generous, considerate nature is unmistakable. Yet no matter how quiet and unassuming it might sometimes appear – in a silent smile, a hidden note, or perhaps a sweet word – kindness, in even the smallest gesture, can have tremendous power in impacting someone’s life for the better.

A few months ago, I was taking a walk on the beach when a complete stranger approached me and handed me a small paper bag. He said he’d seen me picking flowers earlier and wanted me to have it, then wandered off. As he left, I reached inside the bag and pulled out the most beautiful bouquet of fresh-picked wildflowers I’d ever seen, tied together with a simple piece of twine-like grass. All of the thoughts and fears I’d been struggling with earlier that morning dissipated in an instant as I looked down at them, in awe of their (and their giver’s) loveliness.

Even now, I still smile to think of how thoughtful those unexpected flowers were, and how much that man’s random act of kindness meant to me. His action proved that one small, considerate gesture can have the power to lift someone up more than the giver might ever know.

Indeed, kindness does not need to be grandiose or planned in order to be felt. All it takes is our will and commitment to be kinder in the little things. If we just open our hearts to take advantage of the situations we find ourselves in, we’re bound to discover endless opportunities to practice small, random acts of kindness for others.

So, what’s holding us back? Let us strive together, as Eva Alice wrote, to make kindness “our guide from day to day.”

Below, I’ve listed 25 ideas for random acts of kindness. What would you add?

  1. Leave a flower on someone’s windshield.
  2. Send an anonymous postcard to a friend.
  3. Compliment a complete stranger.
  4. Mail a thank-you note to someone who’s made a difference in your life.
  5. Post gracious comments on social media.
  6. Add money to an expired parking meter.
  7. Give your best smile to everyone you pass.
  8. Donate blood.
  9. Hold the door open for the next person.
  10. Spend an afternoon visiting a nursing home.
  11. Tell a friend she’s beautiful.
  12. Cook dinner for a new mom.
  13. Leave a big tip.
  14. Greet the other person in the elevator.
  15. Pick up litter when you see it.
  16. Share class notes with a classmate.
  17. Bake your favorite cookies and share them at work.
  18. Invite your neighbors to dinner.
  19. Tell a manager when you’ve received great customer service from an employee.
  20. Offer forgiveness to someone who’s hurt you.
  21. Send your mother flowers for no reason.
  22. Look for the good in others.
  23. Hide a note in a friend’s purse for them to find later.
  24. Start a conversation with the person working the cash register.
  25. Share a favorite book with a friend.

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