Thursday, October 4, 2007

Acts of Kindness

I bought a book that was published by the "Random Acts of Kindness" Foundation, or "RAOK." The book was comprised of stories taken from mountains letters the general public had sent as a result of previous books. The editors commented that the bulk of these were about acts of kindness done by other people to the writers of the letters. Rarely did they receive a letter about a personal act of kindness performed by the writer. And they began to wonder why this should be so.

At first they assumed the same as me. People are brought up not to blow their own horns. From our earliest years, we're taught that it's nice to be humble and not show off. But as they continued interviews concerned with random acts of kindness, something else dawned on them. Truly kind people don't even tend to realise it! Whenever they congratulated anybody on a generous deed, it would be immediately brushed off, with, "It was no big deal. Anyone would have done the same." Finally it dawned on the RAOK Foundation that people don't consider themselves to be "kind" precisely because the chance to do a good deed never seems special or extraordinary to the individual. They often seem too simple and obviously necessary for any acknowledgement whatsover.

Yet the "ROAK" guys urged us to remember how wonderful we think it is when somebody else does a simple kind deed or speaks an encouraging word to us. They went on to say that in the same way, others appreciate it just as much whenever we do or say something kind to them. They've found (to the benefit of their Foundation) that the public seems to be thirsty for stories of such simple actions that "anyone" could do.

Bottom Line:- Never opt out of doing a simple act of kindness when you have the opportunity, just because, "It doesn't really matter much and when it's all said and done, nobody cares." This couldn't be further from the truth. So do what seems simple and obvious to you. "It's OK if it's obvious. This is just the clear, bright path of kindness."


  1. Wow, very insightful... (So now I'm feeling guilty about giving my daughter a hard time over the four hours of driving it will cost me to take her to her friend's birthday/going away party.)

    ;) She knows I'll take her, but I still wanted her to help out some in exchange....

  2. What was the name of the book? I would love to see if our library has it.
    And it is wonderful when people can do these acts of kindness without even thinking about it. That's what makes them special. I agree that I would be embarrassed to toot my own horn about doing what I was raised to believe is "the right thing to do." Others have been kind to me, and I simply try to pass that along.
    Peace and Laughter,

  3. Oh, what a great post! I've loved this kind of thing for years, way before it started getting attention by the media/public. And it's something I teach my kids, pointing out what kind things people do for us and what my kids can do for others. When I get the opportunity to do a kindness, I let the kids in on it (if they don't notice and ask). If only the world would work harder to be kind!

    I really appreciate your kind comments on both my blogs. I feel the same way - forever blog pals!

    Have a grand weekend!