Random Acts of Kindness

With all the negative in the world, it’s important to remember that there is much good too. My family took a day trip today which provided lots of time to discuss things going on in the world. Coronavirus, politics, locusts, the economy, and our kids’ grades. There were some grim moments!

Towards the end of our trip we visited the office of one of our local government leaders. His office manager was so kind. She knew we were coming and prepared a tray of cookies and bottled water for all of us. She made us comfortable, gave us suggestions on how to take a tour of the building, and took a real interest in each of our kids. We visited with her for a few minutes before our appointment time, but it turned out to be one of the highlights of the day for me. Her kindness was a ray of sunlight.

Each person you see is living a complex life. It’s easy to forget that sometimes. A smile and a kind word can make an incredible difference to another person, one that you will likely never know about and may not even make sense to you.

Remember that small acts of kindness never really go unrewarded. The sunshine you bring to another’s day will find it’s way back to you. The more light you produce the more you will receive.

Today kicks off “Random Acts of Kindness” week. I usually think arbitrary holidays are silly, but I really like this one. What acts of kindness have you received this week?

Developing Character in Kids

I had an abrupt wakeup call last week when I read Adam and Allison Sweet Grant’s article Stop Trying to Raise Successful Kids and Start Raising Kind Ones. If we want the kids in our lives to grow up to be kind adults we need to show them that we value kindness just as much as we value other kinds of achievement.

As the dad of three kids in middle school I try hard to talk with my kids about their day, their experiences, and how they are doing academically and socially. Music is important to our family and is probably the area I’m most “tiger mom” about. For my wife it’s math. We talk about their grades each day as well as their music practice. What we haven’t talked much about are their daily experiences with developing kindness and good character.

I recently wrote about my goal this year to do a good deed daily. After counseling together as a family, we decided our daily good deeds would be the first thing we discuss after returning home each day. Making service and kindness top of mind in my life has changed my daily experiences, and I hope it does the same for my kids too.

The early results have been fun. Yesterday we had a great conversation about whether or not letting a classmate look at your test paper for an answer is a good deed or not. We’ve heard how our kids sat with friends at lunch they haven’t talked to in a while and reached out to students they didn’t know who were sitting alone. I even have renewed hope that my kids will finally learn the dying art of holding the door open for people!

This won’t be a short term project, just as doing well in math or learning an instrument aren’t short term projects. Our actions are a daily vote for the person we want to be and who we will become. Make sure that character development is part of our daily vote!

Do a Good Deed Daily

One of my New Year’s goals this year is to do a good deed daily.

It changes my day when I have a goal like this top of mind. I set out with the thought that I want to be helpful and do some good for the people around me. There have been a few times when I was able to do something significant, but generally it’s small things: holding a door for someone, smiling at people, taking the time to talk, and sharing some of what I know.

A side benefit I’ve discovered is I’m more aware of the good things people around me do. When I see someone going out of their way to be nice or serve someone I feel like I’m meeting a fellow member of a secret club. It feels great to see the good that others do, and helps reaffirm my desire to keep doing good too. Faith in humanity confirmed!