26 random acts of kindness to try today
To mark the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conn., honor the victims by spreading kindness.
Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Last year the devastating shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School took the lives of 20 first-graders and six educators. To mark the anniversary on Dec. 14, residents of Newtown, Conn., have decided against a public commemoration. Noting that a single event comes and goes, the community has come together to begin a mission with enduring impact, a “positive resilient momentum that will serve us for years to come.”
Calling the commemorative campaign “A Year of Service,” the community is promoting kindness and compassion as the lesson to be taken from the tragedy.
“When we speak about resilience, we are talking about taking the power away from things that lead to bad outcomes and giving power to things that create growth,” writes Newtown resident John Woodall in The Newtown Bee. “We committed ourselves to not allow this terrible event and subsequent fear, anger and bitterness to define us,” he added. “We committed ourselves to let compassion and kindness rule our lives.”
So in memory of the victims and in a support of the residents of Newtown, why not indulge in some random acts of kindness? Acts of kindness can run the gamut from simple to involved, but regardless of the effort, they have a similar effect. Science show that kindness is contagious, “when we see someone else help another person it gives us a good feeling, which in turn causes us to go out and do something altruistic ourselves,” one study found. If we can all practice kindness with the Sandy Hook kids in mind, maybe we can indeed turn tragedy into beauty.
The ways in which we can be kind are infinite, but here are some basic, quick ideas to jumpstart the kindness revolution.
1. Pay a thoughtful compliment to a stranger.
2. Write a letter to a hospitalized veteran.
3. Pop a coin in an expired parking meter.
4. Help someone with a baby stroller get up the stairs where there isn't an elevator.
5. Pay for a stranger’s coffee.
6. Give your umbrella to someone who doesn’t have one and is looking miserable; if you need to stay dry too, share it instead.
7. Donate to a stranger’s medical expenses fundraiser.
8. Write a letter to management extolling an employee’s good service.
9. Give your scarf to someone who looks cold.
11. Let a parent with a cranky child go before you in line.
12. Offer your seat to someone standing on public transportation.
13. Write a thank-you note to someone who taught you something.
14. Pay a stranger’s dinner tab and leave a note if you see behavior you admire, like this man did.
15. Order a hot meal to-go after dinner out and give it to someone who looks hungry or a neighbor in need.
16. Give lottery tickets to strangers.
17. Donate blood.
18. Bake cookies for the firemen at your local firehouse.
19. Post fliers for something that someone lost and you found.
20. Leave a copy of your favorite book, CD, or DVD in a public place with a “free, hope you enjoy it” note.
22. Rake a neighbor’s lawn while they’re out; shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk before they wake up.
23. Introduce yourself to a stranger who you often cross paths with.
24. Tape coins to a gumball machine.
25. Praise someone for a thankless job well done.
26. And don’t forget the basics: Help people who’ve dropped things, hold doors and elevators open for people, and help slow walkers cross the street.
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