Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. - Scott Adams
It started with this: http://ow.ly/ghT6t
“Doing good, feels good,” Ann Curry said. And if there was anything more clear in the days after the Newtown shooting, this was a country that needed to feel better, to be better, to do better. I, always up for a short-term challenge and for feeling good, joined in.
What I didn’t realize is that #26acts wasn’t a challenge at all; it was a gift.
Without getting into Newtown specifically, I rallied the family to join me in my efforts, explaining that the holidays were a great time to flex our kindness muscle. Certainly, together we could do twenty-six acts of kindness; Reese, my nine-year old was quick on the math – that was six and a half acts each, she reported proudly.
We were in, even though Finn, my six-year old, kept asking what he could do that would count as half of an act.
We started small: Finn put Reese’s doll away for her, without being asked, gently. Reese let two people cut in line at school. We gave a dollar to a homeless person.
It felt great, we all agreed. We started feeling saucy.
I cleaned out our closets. Instead of selling things we didn’t need anymore, I gave them away. Gladly. The recipients couldn’t believe their luck.
I felt even better than they did.
I won something that I couldn’t use in a contest. I gave it away, giddy now.
I went to the post office to mail holiday cards. On a whim, I scratched out three index cards hiding in the depths of my purse and wrote this on them:
“This is an act of kindness. Pass it on.”
Once at the register, I bought three books of stamps and asked the sullen postal worker to give them to the next three folks who came in, along with my note. I told her my family and I were trying to put some kindness out into the world, in honor of those who had died at Newtown.
The postal worker was surprised. She smiled a beautiful smile, like sun after a storm.
That smile would have been enough; her witnessing my kindness changed her for that moment. See her change, changed me.
Afterward, I went and did my weekly shopping. Oddly, I found myself, instead avoiding meeting eyes with other shoppers or store workers, actively engaging with them, smiling and saying “hi” as they passed by.
Stranger still, the shoppers and workers smiled right back. They said hello. It felt like a revelation, somehow. This is how the world can be; a tiny kindness opens the door, then a flood comes rushing in.
I arrived home to an email from a friend. She knew of my stamp giveaway and she had been stunned to see another friend of hers post this on Facebook (see image).
Had it really gone full circle that quickly? I knew that kindness would feel good, would do good, but this good, this quickly?
I have been amazed, transformed by this simple, easy approach to the world. And I think my family has too.
Finn just bounded into my bedroom, reporting another act of kindness he had been responsible for at school yesterday - something about giving his action figure to a kid who had no action figures.
“Doesn’t being kind feel so good, Finn?” I asked, knowing the answer.
“Yep, I think we should just do it everyday.” He answered, matter of factly.
I agree, Finn. Yes, let’s.
2013: Let’s make it the year of kindness.