My grandma was one of those people who I think would be best described as small but mighty. Not mighty in an overbearing way, but driven and persistent and determined to make the world a better place. One of the ways she lived this out was to do something nice for someone every week. On occasion that “something nice” would be writing a note of encouragement to the local high school basketball team if they had a particularly good game. How cute is that?!
She was my mom’s mom, and I see her passion for caring for and encouraging others living itself out in my mom as well. She quietly, often behind the scenes, pours her heart into caring for others and the world around her. I’m sure I don’t even know the half of what she’s done in the name of kindness.
Having these women as examples in my life normalized kindness for me. It was never a decision to be kind to others, it was an expectation. Not like an explicit expectation, hammered into us, but a trait that was as familiar and necessary as breathing.
Having children of my own now, I wonder how they see kindness expressed in my life. Will it impact them enough that they will live a life guided by kindness?
Today marks World Kindness Day – an opportunity to join with others around the globe to focus on and participate in acts of kindness. What can you do with your children to exhibit kindness today? Going further, how can you stretch your kindness muscles to incorporate more regular acts of kindness into your family life?
Take heart if life is feeling full right now, and the idea of adding a single thing is overwhelming – kindness doesn’t require a huge, colossal effort. There are big and small ways to show kindness. It can be something that takes time and effort, like volunteering as a family at a soup kitchen, or it can be something as simple as picking up a few pieces of trash at the park while you’re playing there with your kids.
Below you’ll find a few ideas you can do by yourself or with kids to show kindness. Please add your ideas in the comments, or tell us what you did to celebrate World Kindness Day today!
- Purchase a coffee shop gift card and write an encouraging message on the back, like “You’ve got this!” Hand it to a mom with a young child you see out and about in the community.
- Help your kids bake cookies for a neighbor.
- Paint smiley faces on rocks with your kids and hide them around the park to make others smile.
- Write a letter of encouragement to someone.
- Make eye contact and smile at others you see in the community, especially those often marginalized.
- Have your kids draw pictures, and bring them with you when you’re in the community. Give the pictures to someone who may not receive a lot of kid artwork in their daily life.
- Reach out to a friend going through a tough time.
- Pre-load candy machines in public spaces with quarters, then watch from a distance as people discover the surprise.
- Call a relative you haven’t talked to in awhile.
- Write a note to your child and tell them all the things you love about them.
Together, through simple and deliberate acts, we can start ripples of kindness that continue for generations.