President George H.W. Bush died last week, and the country mourns this man who exemplified civility during his years in office. His belief in the importance of giving of oneself and shining a light for those in need gave us all something to work towards, and hopefully this country will find our way back to that road once again.
I have a belief in the goodness of people because I see their small (and big) acts of kindness every day. Whether it was the young fast food worker who used his own debit card to feed the hungry man who came through his line, or the owner of a sports team who spent close to $100K paying down customers’ lay-away bill in her local Walmart, our country is filled with people whose hearts will always lead them in the right direction.
Quite a few years ago I presented my Public Speaking students with a challenging mid-term exam. It was December, and I wanted them to get in the true holiday spirit. They were to do something unexpectedly wonderful for someone...a random act of kindness, and then present a speech explaining the act and telling us how it made them feel. Although the idea scared them initially, one by one they came to tell me how wonderful it was to surprise someone when they most needed a lift. The acts of kindness were as varied as the students, but they all came from the heart. One boy mowed an elderly neighbor’s yard, and one painted a neighbor’s house. One girl bought her aunt (a single mom) a gift card for a spa and offered to babysit for her two cousins on the day it was cashed in. One young man called his out of town grandmother and spoke to her for an hour, and another student read a book to a blind neighbor. The one thing that they all had in common was the joy they felt when giving of themselves. Every student got an A on their mid-term that year.
I realize it is difficult to find the good these days, but it is there. I am astounded at the amount of money that is collected everyday on scores of GoFundMe pages, and more than money, people are donating time to those in need. Last year I tried to volunteer time in our local soup kitchen. They told me that there were so many volunteers that there were not enough hours in the day to take on any more. I fondly remember my days as a “candy-striper” in Lankenau Hospital, and am happy to see young people still volunteering their time in hospitals, nursing homes and animal shelters.
I have a challenge for all of you. Go out and perform some random act of kindness. Don’t plan it out; let it come from your heart. Several thousand people read this blog each month, and if everyone participates, imagine how many lives will be made happier. When you are finished, take note of how it makes you feel. If you want to share, please send me a short note telling me about it. (Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org)
I am going to compile a book of Random Acts of Kindness and would love to include yours. If you don’t want your name included, just let me know to mark it anonymous.
As I promised several weeks ago, I spent part of Thanksgiving holiday reading Joseph Finder’s soon to be released book, Judgment. Wow! I really enjoyed it and can’t wait for it to be published so you can add it to your must read list.
As always a complete review of this book follows my blog.