By Wendy J Olson (3 minute read)
Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day! What constitutes a random act of kindness? To me, it’s doing something without expectation. It’s doing something kind for the sake of kindness sake. Giving love and putting love out into the world when the world desperately needs it. And I can safely say, we need it now.
When my kids were little, we lived in an affluent part of town that was quickly turning my kids into entitled a-holes. Mama had to squash that real quick. I started involving them in some of the nonprofit work I was doing that was age appropriate. We started doing kind and thoughtful post-it’s that we would leave around town through a Love Sticks campaign. I’d take them to the school we fed lunch to in the third ward in Houston to let them see how vastly different our city was. We’ve handed out coats and blankets to the homeless on a Sunday. My daughter, during the pandemic, sold her art to raise money to give away to the homeless. She finds people she sees on the street and generously donates cash to them as they stand outside in the cold or heat. She raised over $200 herself.
But a random act of kindness doesn’t need to involve money or a grand gesture. It may be easier to rescue an animal off the street, but wouldn’t it be more thoughtful to bring someone a meal or a coffee, buy some woman’s groceries, or even just hold the door open for a random stranger. Politeness and social etiquette go a long way. Even paying someone a compliment on their outfit can make someone’s face light up. Have you ever walked by someone who looked like they were having a rough day? Finding something you like about that person and expressing that verbally can change the whole trajectory of their day.
In a world where our differences are so polarized that they can be blinding at times, remembering that we’re all enduring this human experience together and showing someone kindness can help make this world a little more tolerable.
Even if just for a day.
A quick word about safety and awareness while out and about…
If you are out somewhere, trying to do your random act of kindness for the day and you get a chill down your spine or a twist in your stomach when someone comes close, turn and walk in the opposing direction. While your intention might be good, there’s might not be. Trust your instincts in this case. And do not worry about what another person thinks of you. Don’t save face. Save your life.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
Wendy J Olson is the Founder and Executive Director of Grit Plus Gumption Farmstead, a 501c3 nonprofit. She also works as a healing coach, facilitating the Allender Center modality of Story Work, (Narrative Focused Trauma Care. ) She walks with women through their stories of past hurts and traumas, guiding them to freedom and healing.