Celebrated the week of February 12th through the 19th, Random Acts of Kindness Week is dedicated to promoting kindness throughout the United States. While events and acts of kindness take place throughout the week, there is a great emphasis on the National Random Acts of Kindness Day which is Friday, February 17th. This day was first honored in Denver, Colorado in 1995. According to the website, Love ‘N Learn Educational Child Care, the day is set aside to “make the world a little brighter and better through little and simple kind gestures, words, and actions.” As for the week, its history dates back to 1982 when Anne Herbert coined the phrase “practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” Herbert crafted this phrase in California as a response to acts of violence and cruelty, hoping to put a stop to them. In 1993, a children’s book, Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty was published. From there, the Random Acts of Kindness Week and Day have spread throughout the world, all with the same goal of making the world a little kinder.
In addition to making the world a better place, giving and receiving kindness can have many benefits. When you are helping others and yourself, you can reduce your stress, improve your happiness, self-esteem, and mood – all beneficial to your mental health and wellbeing. In addition, showing kindness can help create a sense of belonging, reduce our sense of isolation, and help us change our perspective on the world. Through random acts of kindness, we are able to see how our actions have impacts on others and give us a more positive viewpoint. Combine all of these advantages together and we can easily see how kindness can change the world for ourselves, individually and collectively, and for the better.
During Random Acts of Kindness Week and especially on National Random Acts of Kindness Day, be sure to show kindness towards yourself and others. Whether it is by yourself or with your loved ones, the goal is to complete at least one random act of kindness, hopefully each day of the week. The key to accomplishing this goal is to make sure the acts are random. You don’t have to put much thought into them; you just do them because they are kind and the right thing to do. Simple actions, such as holding the door open for a stranger or giving a compliment, don’t take much time and can easily be done. However, it is equally important to take part in bigger tasks that may take more planning and time to complete, but are random and a surprise to the recipients. One way to do just that is by showing kindness on a larger scale on Friday, February 17, the National Random Acts of Kindness Day. You can also turn Saturday and/or Sunday of that week into daylong events of volunteering.
There are many ways to demonstrate kindness, which can be modified for all ages, as well as, for an individual or group.
- Donate groceries to a local food bank
- Surprise someone with homemade goodies
- Donate food, blankets, and toys to the animal shelter
- Run an errand for a family member, neighbor, or friend
- Create positive bookmarks for books at your library
- Leave money on a vending machine for someone to find
- Call your neighborhood school and pay off lunch debt for students
- Buy a gift card and randomly hand to a stranger in a store or restaurant
- Write a thank you note to your friends, teachers, mail carrier, police department, hospital, etc.
- Pick up a piece of litter on the street and throw it away
- Compliment a coworker to your boss
- Build a little free library in your neighborhood or a needed area in town
- Reconnect with a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while
- Write an encouraging note for someone who may need it
- Volunteer at your favorite nonprofit
Let this week, the Random Acts of Kindness Week, be the start to changing the world. Kindness should be the norm for all people and each day should be filled with at least one random act of kindness. Together, we can make an impact for the better. As spoken in the movie Evan Almighty: “How do we change the world? One single act of random kindness at a time.”