Oscar Wilde said, “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” This World Tour of the Web focuses on those little things we can all do to make the world a better place.
When January rolls around, I like to write out my goals for the year. This year, instead of career-focused to-dos or dreamy travel wishes, my goals focused on becoming a better human. I wrote things like:
I will start every day with thankful thoughts and intention.
I will read something motivational/thoughtful/spiritual every day.
I will greet my husband and children with love and joy.
I will focus less on my wants and more on making others happy.
I have been more successful with some goals than with others. While I am pretty dang good at greeting my children with a smile, hug, and joyous glint in my eyes, I sometimes forget my resolution to give this small dose of love to my husband. I’ll do better tomorrow. That’s all we can do, right? Learn from our mistakes and strive to do better.
Here’s another one:
Every day I will do an act of kindness for someone outside of my family.
This one can be hard, y’all. Still, it’s a lovely way to frame my day. I am always on the outlook for some small act of kindness I can do to make someone else’s day a bit brighter. I hold open the door for a mom struggling with a stroller; I compliment a stranger’s sweater; I let someone go ahead of me in the parking lot at preschool drop-off; I take a photo for a couple posing by the ocean. I have always done these things on occasion, but now I am on a treasure hunt to find more and more ways to spread kindness throughout my life.
Social media makes doing small acts of kindness easier. I can make a positive comment on someone else’s blog, post words of encouragement on a friend’s Facebook page, or re-tweet something on Twitter. All the better if I do a bunch of these small things in one day. Still, I am always wondering if my small gesture is enough. What else can I do?
Since I sometimes struggle to find acts of kindness to fulfill my daily goal, I thought I’d turn to the Interwebs for ideas.
Here are some stories that focus on the little everyday acts of kindness we can each do to make the world a better place:
50 Simple Ways to Pay It Forward
by Belinda Munoz, Choosing Positivity
I love this list so much, I printed it out to post on my fridge.
The Traveling Red Dress
by Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess
Making the world a better place could be as simple as sending your friend a red dress so she can, “wear it and love it and feel…special and vivid and dynamic.” It sounds cheesy when I write it but I promise it’s not. Read Jenny’s original post and you’ll see what I mean. Then read The Traveling Red Dress Revisited to see how a simple act can multiply and become a big one.
20 Ways to Give Without Expectations
by Lori Deschene, Tiny Buddha
The author says expecting something in return (beyond the joy of helping) can actually cause more stress for her. Lori says, “They mar the act of giving, which makes me feel slightly guilty; they lead to disappointment if the person I helped doesn’t return the kindness; and they tie my intentions to an internal score card, which places a wedge in my relationships.” I think we all struggle with this, I know I do. I love these tips on how to pay it forward without expectations.
Gatorade Angels – Random Acts of Kindness
by Nancy Vogel, Family on Bikes
This post about the kindness of strangers will bring tears to your eyes. Or, at least it did to mine.
Why We “Volunteer Travel” as a Family
by Lainie Liberti, Raising Miro
This story explores the many benefits of volunteering with your children during your travels.
Kids for Peace
Want to encourage your children to “uplift our world through love and action” in your own community? I do. That’s why we’re joining the local chapter of Kids for Peace today.
Share your suggestions for everyday acts of kindness in the comments!
Photo by Anita Patterson. (Creative Commons)