It began with a suggestion from Ann Curry – an excellent suggestion to honor the children and teachers who died at Sandy Hook Elementary by doing 26 random acts of kindness, big or small, in their names. But something didn’t sit quite right with me, and it seems a few others had the same troubling thought: 28 people died, that day, in NewTown, CT. Even if you don’t feel like “honoring” the one who finally turned the gun on himself, why 26? Why not 27? And so I’d challenge everyone to make it #28Acts, and ask yourself why 27 and 28 seem harder, somehow. Why you hesitate (if you do) to include them.
And why stop at 26 or 27 or 28? Why not make that a weekly goal throughout 2013 and beyond? Why not include the volunteer firefighters, Mike Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka?
Why not include the living – the first responders at Sandy Hook who had to see more than anyone ever bargains for when they join the Police, Fire, or EMS?
Kindness could spread like a pandemic. It could reach all points of the globe. Imagine… just…imagine.
Why not honor the women of India who have had to endure horrendous acts of cruelty at the hands of men?
Angered India demands change after gang rape exposes a society in crisis gu.com/p/3cn3q/tf
How many acts of kindness will it take to refill the well, so that everyone who thirsts can drink? We can’t change the past or undo the harm, but we can all resolve to be kinder, to listen more, to try to understand, and maybe – who knows? – one act will change a person’s life and prevent one act of hate and hurtfulness.
The idea of taking pictures of these “good deeds” and tweeting about it also bothered me, at first. As I looked through the tweets, I saw a few that seemed a bit…self-congratulatory? But hey, it’s a start, right? And then I started to find some that truly inspired me, and I thought, “Keep tweeting and posting and sharing these ideas, because some of us don’t really even remember where to start, and others seem to come by kindness so naturally.” I questioned my own initially judgmental attitude towards some of these little gestures, and felt bad as I realized that NO act of kindness ought to be discouraged or disparaged. Ever. Keep sharing those ideas in public, too. It makes a difference, as this tweet demonstrates:
10th act of kindness: saw barefoot homeless man in the snow. Ran home & got a pair of husb’s old shoes. Wouldn’t have done so pre-#26Acts.
Here’s an easy one – but just how good would it make you feel, if you were on the receiving end of this?
Somebody’s #26Acts note on my desk made my day when I got back from vacation today. Thank you sweet coworker! 🙂
I kept perusing the tweets until I found some that truly humbled and inspired me or reminded me of meaningful acts of kindness I might want to replicate or build on in my own way, and found some that I want to share with you – and I challenge you to join in this movement, but also to keep it up throughout 2013. By the end of the year, then, it will no doubt have become a pleasant habit and I won’t even have to ask you to renew the pledge in 2014.
I remember spending hours in hospital waiting rooms, when my Grandfather was in ICU. The things that best helped to pass the time were books and jigsaw puzzles. I did a lot of jigsaw puzzles with my Dad, during the hours we spent waiting, hoping for good news, dreading bad news. And of course, as an author, I cannot help but smile whenever books are part of a random act of kindness!
I used to give blood regularly. Yes, I know – some of you reading this know just how terrified I am of needles. But the thought of possibly saving a life – of saving someone else the sorrow of losing a loved one – made donating blood feel worthwhile. I quit doing this out of a deep resentment towards the Gulf Coast Blood Center and the American Red Cross, back in 2001. The Gulf Coast Blood Center allowed me to switch my beneficiary designation to my Mom, but then refused to honor that when they learned that she needed blood – over 40 units, as I recall – in New York, a region served by the Red Cross. Who knew that disaster relief and humanitarian aid could be so…territorial? Maybe I’ll commit two acts of kindness, here – maybe I’ll donate again, and try to forgive them for that.
Are you in?