A Random Acts of Kindness Challenge

posted by Andrea | 05/23/2013

random acts of kindness

I’m excited to share today’s post with you, because it’s a guest post I requested from a loyal reader.

Dallas, from Day-by-Day Masterpiece, is currently in the middle of a one-year challenge to perform random acts of kindness each week. I think this idea is awesome… and for those of you who might want to try a similar challenge, I asked Dallas to share  a few really simple (and free) random acts of kindness we can ALL do!

We live in such a crazy-busy world that sometimes it can be difficult to squeeze in extra time volunteering or giving to others. But you don’t have to give a ton of time or money to make a positive difference. Little acts of kindness and grace add up!

We’re not even halfway through the year yet, and it has already been such an amazing and life-affirming experience. I wake up every day charged with energy and gratitude!

Want to join me? Here are five small acts of kindness that you can do today:

1. Post a kind note in a public place.

Write a nice phrase on a sticky note and leave it on a public bathroom mirror. Some of my favorites:

  • You are beautiful.
  • Someone loves you very much.
  • Have a wonderful day.

2. Give someone flowers.

Flowers brighten anyone’s day! Pick some from your garden and bring them to a neighbor. Surprise a friend with flowers. Take a bouquet to a nursing home.

One person participating in my year of kindness challenge bought a rose at the grocery store, paid for it, and then gave it to the cashier. You can bet that made her day!

3. Deliver baked goods.

Whip up a batch of cookies, brownies, cupcakes, muffins, or whatever your special dish may be. Then drop them off, with a note of thanks, to your local fire station, police station, or hospital. Don’t have time to bake? Bring balloons, flowers, or even just a card.

4. Pick up litter.

Next time you’re out for a walk or playing at the park with your kiddos, bring along a plastic grocery bag and pick up any litter you see. Kids love helping with this “game” too! (Just make sure to bring along hand sanitizer or thoroughly wash their hands after touching any trash.)

5. Send a thank-you note.

One of my role models, the late John Wooden, used to say: “Although it is often used without true feeling, when it is used with sincerity, no collection of words can be more expressive or meaningful than the very simple word – Thanks!” Isn’t that so true? We all love to feel appreciated and cared about.

Handwritten thank-you notes (or even thank-you emails) are especially meaningful because they can be read again and again. Think of someone you are grateful for, and take a few minutes to write them a thank-you note. I can guarantee you will brighten their day!

It’s amazing how these simple acts can impact the lives of others — as well as our own lives.

What are your favorite random acts of kindness?

Dallas Woodburn blogs about joyful, healthy living at Day-by-Day Masterpiece. She is also the author of two collections of short stories for children and teens; her latest, 3 a.m., was featured on the PBS book talk show “Between the Lines.” A passionate advocate for young writers and readers, Dallas also is the founder of the nonprofit organization Write On! For Literacy and the publishing company Write On! Books, through which she edited and published the acclaimed anthology Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today’s best youth writing.

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24 comments

  1. Amy

    05/23/2013

    This is a great idea :) I feel down in the dumps today and I know this will lift me up. Got to decide what to do now :)

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  2. barb

    05/23/2013

    This is such a wonderful, wonderful idea!!! I know there are a lot of thoughtful people out there that do this already, but it is a reminder and encouragement for those of us, me included, who need a “push” to also start doing it. There are soooooo many hurting, lonely, depressed, etc. individuals who could use an encouragement, uplift, feeling loved act of kindness. Thanks for posting this. I am so thankful God created you Andrea, otherwise, I wouldn’t have your blog to read, which I simply enjoy and get “motivated” from!!! (Does this last sentence count as an “act of kindness”? (hahaha)

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Barb! I’ll take your kind words any day :)

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  3. Stel

    05/23/2013

    Beautiful.
    I’ve been trying to do similar, as an example to the boys. Every day, in morning traffic, we have to look for a situation where we can let someone in traffic, get a chance to turn or similar – the purposes to show them even at this young age that kindness must extend everywhere, even on the road. We have crazy road accident numbers in South Africa, and very bad behaviour on our city roads.

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    Kris Reply:

    When I lived in a large city a couple summers ago, I found that the more often I made a point to “let people in” in traffic (even when it was inconvenient for me and perhaps others behind me as well), the more often I noticed others letting me in traffic too! I was thankful God used that as a way to show me how little selfless acts of kindness can bless us in return – even when we aren’t expecting it. :)

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  4. Jo

    05/23/2013

    Very inspiring! Other idea I can think of: pay for a friend or strangers coffee or restaurant bill, open doors for people (simple but heart-warming), mow your neighbors lawn (or weed!)…..

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    Andrea Reply:

    All fabulous ideas. Thanks for sharing Jo — and feel free to stop by weed our lawn any time :)

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  5. Louise

    05/23/2013

    At the school where I work we have a box where anyone involved with the school can post thank you’s or positive comments to other members of the school community. Every friday they are sent out via parentmail under the title ‘Spread the love’

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    Andrea Reply:

    LOVE this idea Louise! Thanks for sharing :)

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  6. Sarah

    05/23/2013

    I take extra paper towels in public restrooms and wipe off the counters.
    I don’t want the next person to have to dodge all the puddles of water that are usually on those counters.
    Keep up the great blog, Andrea!!
    :)

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    Dallas Reply:

    What a great idea!! I love it!

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  7. Olga

    05/23/2013

    What a great reminder. Keeping this in the back of my mind will help keep my focus and priorities in the right place.
    One of my favorite “acts of kindness” is simply being cheerful and polite. It always perks me up when I meet someone who is genuinely happy and joyful. People seem to be so busy and in their own little shell, it’s like a breath of fresh air to have an encounter with a positive, well mannered person.
    I really like what Sarah wrote too, about wiping the counters.

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  8. Gayle

    05/23/2013

    I was super excited to see you issue this challenge. This year I turn 40. To celebrate I have decided to volunteer with 40 different organizations this year. If you want to follow my journey, please do. Here is a link. I love that you are challenging your readers. May the random acts of kindness continue to grow. AMAZING :)

    http://greeleygirl.blogspot.com/

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    Dallas Reply:

    Wow, this is amazing!! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate your birthday!

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  9. Sher

    05/23/2013

    I am an Activity Director and an Assisted Living Community in Oregon and we have developed a Random Acts of Kindness program this year for our residents and staff to participate in. It has been such a wonderful thing to see it blossom. For the month of May we are collecting non-perishable food items for the local Food Pantry to help needy families. But we also talk a lot about kindness not needing to cost any money at all, simply being polite, friendly, cheerful, offering a compliment, holding a door for someone…these are little ways we can make the world a better place!

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  10. debbie

    05/23/2013

    A great suggestion which we need to practice daily (we all have bad days and need any little lift at all) and it might just lift the spirits of someone going through difficult times for whatever reason. When I’m having a tough day I would much rather see a kind, smiling face rather than Ms or Mr Sourpuss.

    I am so glad I learned about Dallas of Day-by-Day Masterpiece.

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  11. Dallas

    05/23/2013

    Andrea, thank you SO much for featuring my post today! And thank you everyone for your beautiful, kind and inspiring comments. You have brightened my whole week! :)

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  12. Melissa

    05/23/2013

    Thank you for posting this and brightening my day.

    My favorite act of kindness is to offer to return an elderly person’s grocery cart to the cart area for them after they get their groceries in their car. I’ve also offered to do this for moms with kiddos in the car.

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  13. Debbie R.

    05/23/2013

    Pay someone’s tolls if you are on the tollway! I would always go through the toll person booth and tell them I am paying for the person behind me! Most people would catch up to me waving frantically with big smiles! This was before the instant toll payment systems that most states have in place. Now the kids and I go on “clean up” walks with our bags and see who an get the most trash. We try to give extra when tipping and maybe even a little note of Great Job – that’s how these people make their living. I even try to be nice to telemarketers! I am always polite and wish them a great day – I am sure these people did not aspire to do that for a living. They have to endure the not-so-nice people just to take care of their family’s needs…I admire that!

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  14. Pam

    05/24/2013

    I work at a health club where all the cleaning staff is Hispanic. About 6 weeks ago, when the cleaning lady came into my office I did my best to speak what little Spanish I remembered from school. “Hola, como esta?” was about it! She had such a big grin! Since then, everytime she comes to empty the trash, she teaches me a new Spanish phrase and I teach her some English. Just yesterday I saw her in the back laundry area and she was visibly upset, crying very hard. There is no language barrier when someone is upset or sad. I just hugged her.

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  15. Lee Cockrum

    05/24/2013

    I always leave the quarter in the cart at places like BJ’s. It doesn’t take a lot of money, but it’s always a nice little surprise for someone.

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  16. Ashli

    05/29/2013

    I love this! We were making our summer bucket list the other day and I added Weekly Random Acts of Kindness. Hoping to make the kids see the value in doing something nice just because we can!

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  17. Linda Crowder

    06/02/2013

    See how one person can actually make a difference? I read this when you posted it, and have been reading about other “news” and happenings similar to your subject of random acts of kindness in the past couple of weeks. But, today it came into my own small circle of life. My roommate and another resident were out for dinner this evening and were admiring the love and happiness the couple at a nearby table were displaying. Looks and smiles were exchanged between the ladies and the couple, but no words were exchanged. After wondering if they would EVER get the ticket so they could pay for their meals and leave, they asked their waiter what was the problem? She replied something similar to “you mean you didn’t know? The couple sitting in the booth over there paid for your dinners.” the ladies had not heard about the Random Act of Kindness Challenge and were telling the story to me. I told them what all I had been reading about the Challenge, and how people all over Dallas have paid for groceries for the next person in line, paid for someone else’s meal, paid for a purchase at a store, etc. Let’s keep it going!

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    Andrea Reply:

    WOW! cool story Linda — thanks for sharing!

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