Random Acts of Kindness
National Random Acts of Kindness Day is February 17th, 2020, fittingly sharing the same date as Family Day 2020 in Canada!
National Random Acts of Kindness Day is coming next week and is one of my absolutely favorite days! The movement of offering random gestures of kindness is one that, for some reason, speaks to my spirit – the essence of who I am!
I remember back when I was in elementary and high school, we would have special days, where you could purchase candy or flowers for as little as $0.25 cents, and anonymously have those items sent to a friend or teacher. Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day and festive days offered the opportunity to give a secret gift to fellow-students. My friends and I would often organize these events as fundraisers for various causes. In preparation for these special days, I would make lists, far in advance, of friends, acquaintances and also of fellow-students who I knew that no one would think of, to share these gestures with. I loved that it was a secret – no one would know that the candy or flowers came from you. Except for you. These special random (or not-so-random) acts of kindness days made a difference at my school. Not just on that day, but somehow, the ripple effect spread throughout the year, and people were nicer to one another.
Kindness is a currency, just like money or time, and it’s something we could all use a little more of, not just when we were kids in school, but today. And every day.
National Random Acts of Kindness Day began in 1995 and is a day to celebrate and encourage random acts of kindness, to embrace the pay it forward movement by offering gestures of kindness to loved ones, family, friends, colleagues at work, in addition to random strangers and people in need.
Even though National Random Acts of Kindness Day began in 1995, the concept came to life many years earlier, when, in 1982, a visionary named Ann Herbert scribbled a very special phrase on a place mat as she sat in a Sausalito California restaurant. She wrote “Practice random kindness & senseless acts of beauty.” This action by Ann was in reaction to the ‘random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty’ that she saw in the world around her. And she wanted to change it!
The world took notice! A subtle movement began as thousands embraced this philosophy and practice of sharing random acts of kindness. Stories were shared through media outlets around the world, highlighting the incredible generosity of countless random acts of kindness that were being shared, often by complete strangers. A ripple effect was created with impact felt around the globe! From spontaneously smiling at a stranger or paying for the car behind you in a drive-through restaurant line to much more expensive and elaborate ideas, kindness makes a difference – not only for the recipient but also for the sender.
Something that a group of friends and I did recently was a more elaborate and not-so-random acts of kindness gesture. The concept is simple:
- Gather your friends
- Save your coffee money
- Find a worthy recipient
- Get creative
Check out the video and get started on creating your own movement!
The time is now and the world is waiting! The world is made better and brighter because of kindness! Our lives are made better, brighter and filled with greater meaning because of kindness.
One of the most popular kindness campaigns is “FREE HUGS”, started by Juan Mann, who wanted to reach out and hug strangers simply to brighten up their lives. It has been replicated around the world, and Kelowna residents have likely even seen the recognizable “FREE HUGS” signs when local groups offer free hugs annually to anyone passing by.
Some of the most impactful gestures of kindness cost nothing, yet can change the world! Juan Mann created a movement around the globe with nothing but a large piece of paper and some duct tape – and a desire to reach out and hug a stranger to make their day brighter. It was also, perhaps, to brighten his own life as he had just returned to Sydney from London and had no one to come home to. Feeling disconnected and alone, this idea came to him and his life and the world will be forever changed.
Seeing the simplicity of ideas like this one, and the potential impact, I’ve been creating a “Gratitude & Wishing Tree” every year in Kelowna for the past number of years. In the past year, we started using ‘seed paper’ that contains seeds of wildflowers, that we hope will grow in spring. You may have seen the most recent tree if you hike at Knox Mountain in Kelowna.
A new Gratitude & Wishing Tree will be popping up again soon so keep your eyes open for the blue ribbons that will guide you to it!
Many years ago, a friend and I decided to go out and do some random acts of kindness. It was a cold, windy day in autumn, and I asked her if she wanted to go rake leaves in a stranger’s yard or go to Tim Hortons and buy some coupons to give out randomly to people. It was very chilly out, and she hates raking leaves. Off to Tim Hortons we went. It was back at a time where Tim Hortons had $1 coupons in booklets. We bought $20 worth and proceeded to walk up to strangers or knock on office windows and give each person a $1 coupon. Who knew that just $1 could make someone so happy? Who knew that $20 could change our lives in immeasurable ways? It is a day that I will fondly remember, forever.
Since that time, we made these Imagine The Ripple Effect cards – to be given out when a random act of kindness is shared, so that the recipient then receives the card and passes it on as they share their own random act of kindness. Thousands of these cards have been purchased (you can buy 52 in a deck – one for each week of the year). All proceeds go to charity. You can also read up on 101 Ideas To Create A Ripple Effect here: https://crystalflaman.com/inspiration-corner/
You were born to make the world better and brighter! Could National Random Acts of Kindness Day, on February 17th, 2020, be a day to share a little of your time, talent, or simply – your smile with family, friends, loved ones and even strangers? May this year’s National Random Acts of Kindness Day and Family Day be a day that changes someone’s life – including your own!
The time is now! The world needs you – and it’s waiting!
Crystal Flaman is an international keynote speaker and social entrepreneur, inspiring you to discover your dreams and the difference you can create in the world. Anything is possible. Everything is possible. Believe in your dreams. Do what you love and be fearlessly you.