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Acts of Kindness

Do what you can,Recently I have noticed the promotion of Random Acts of Kindness as way to honor the anniversary of tragic events- the Boston and Oklahoma bombings come to mind. This is a wonderfully positive response to a heartbreaking occasion, and anybody can participate. If you have ever committed a Random Act of Kindness you know how great it feels to be the giver. Personally, I love making the conscious decision on a completely arbitrary day to brighten someone else’s life, even if just briefly.

Paying for the person behind you at the toll booth or drive-through are nice ways to bring a smile to a stranger, but Random Acts of Kindness do not need to have a monetary component. Random Acts of Kindness are about doing: Taking the trash barrels in for a neighbor, holding the door open an extra second for someone approaching, smiling and saying thank you when someone goes out of their way for you. When you are actively looking for ways throughout the day to be kind, your own day changes for the better, too. If I am having a particularly trying day or really feeling grouchy, I put a Post-it on my dashboard to remind me to be kind. This small signal helps me alter my outlook and attitude, and it refreshes my spirit.

Random Act of Kindness can also be a gesture of gratitude to those who serve in our community: Police, fire fighters, school crossing guards or nurses- and the list goes on! Because my brother is a fireman, regularly working during the holidays, I often think of those who work while we are celebrating with our families. The next time you are at a festivity where there is too much food left over, consider dropping those extra cupcakes off at the Police station, Fire Station or even an Emergency Room/Trauma Center.

Acts of Kindness can also be mindful and serve as a way to honor a loved one’s birthday – living or deceased. My dad was a blood donor his entire adult life and then became a platelet donor, giving religiously each month. He very rarely missed a session, and never skipped December because the holidays always suffer from a dip in blood donations. At my dad’s funeral, I asked everyone there to consider donating blood each year on his birthday (December 23rd).

Whenever I finish an organizing session, there is always the question of what to do with all the stuff that’s no longer needed. Taking the time to bring those items to the Salvation Army or Goodwill is an Act of Kindness. The donations will be sold to raise money for programs that help the community, and you are helping the environment by keeping good items out of a landfill. It is often a little more effort, but homeless and women’s shelters are grateful for donations of household items such as cookware, lamps, blanket and towels. Next time you feel the urge to purge, make the outcome of your organizing an Act of Kindness.

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