#28Acts of Kindness

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,ย 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?

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:

Here’s an easy one – but just how good would it make you feel, if you were on the receiving end of this?

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 ย 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 – ย 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?

HollyJahangiri

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; Innocents & Demons; and A New Leaf for Lyle. You can find her books on Amazon at http://amazon.com/author/hollyjahangiri. For more information on her children's books, please visit http://jahangiri.us/books.

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31 thoughts on “#28Acts of Kindness”

  1. I am in but lets make this a movement. I like this idea its a great post but why dont we make it more official like a place we can pledge our kindness and out of all this hardship that we face everyday we can do some great acts of kindness and the numbers dont have to be controversial (26 27 28) but we should be at least accountable! Use a spread sheet show people that its done cause I could type away on this keyboard till the cows come home but I doubt I will ever do any of it unless there is an incentive or motivation behind. If you want to get this ball rolling into an avalanche am in. What do the rest of you think?

    1. What a great idea! What do you think of the tag #InfiniteKindness ?

      And is this what you have in mind for a spreadsheet? I think the “incentive” or “motivation” really ought to be to feel good and make the world a better place, to lighten someone else’s load today – as we’d want someone to do for us if we were feeling a little blue or a bit desperate.

      It IS a bit of a movement already, but I fear that many people will stop when they reach #26, you know? I’d rather join and rekindle the whole RAOK movement – http://www.raok.org/ – it’s certainly not an idea I can claim any credit for, but one I think deserves to be kindled until it bursts into a bright flame. See also:

      http://www.lifevestinside.com/

      I love, love, love their “Kindness Boomerang” video!
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…#28Acts of KindnessMy Profile

  2. Hey yeah your spreadsheet is nice but add color and more columns like username location(country) in process or done! raok.org is nice but am in canada same with life vest lets make this purely vitual and accessible to all !!
    and the tag is great!!!

    1. Well, now, you’ve obviously overestimated my mad tech skills, haven’t you? LOL – got any helpful how-to’s on adding color and such? Okay – I can add columns (may need to make a whole new form for that – but not at all sure how to add more “eye-candy” to the form, or whether it’s really needed. Always open to suggestions, though – and HELP!

      On second thought, I’m not going to ask for name and email address. Given the laws about collection of personal information and protecting it, it’s a risk I’d rather not take – because I’d really like for this to be a PUBLIC list of random acts of kindness, and a resource for people looking for suggestions. The first question reaffirms commitment, but I think if people want to share what they’ve done and who they are, they can do that in the comments here – using their real names, or anonymously if they prefer. I do collect email addresses to cut down on spam, but I don’t save them or sell them or make them public.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…#28Acts of KindnessMy Profile

      1. LOL!! I read that and was like, “WHAT ‘rolling paintbrush’?” No, that’s the FORMAT PAINTER. So, if you want to make them all date fields or something, you can. So now it’s green with a purple grid – that more what you had in mind?
        HollyJahangiri recently posted…#28Acts of KindnessMy Profile

      2. naw thats perfect all you need now is the form people fill in to populate you their infinite acts and people can tract it using the url (keep it view only ) the form will populate it itself!!! am sure you know how to do that ๐Ÿ˜›

      3. lol i really just meant a nice spreadsheet helps am a scientist we look a spread sheets for the answers to life if it doesnt have color ……………but let people access both thats nice to see progress !!!!!! and it looks great ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. And thank you for making my world a brighter, more colorful place today! Er, yesterday… geez, it’s after midnight here! I’m going to bed. I have two acts of kindness to perform tomorrow – taking a friend to the ER to get her hand x-rayed (an act of love and friendship, really – she’s my sister-by-choice and should’ve done this days ago, when she hurt her hand!), and serving on an Eagle Scout Board of Review (to help a young man reach his goals, even though my son and I are no longer involved in Scouting). So – I’d better get to sleep so I’m not all bleary eyed and stupid in the morning! (Or no more so than usual.)
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…#28Acts of KindnessMy Profile

  3. Hidy ho Holly, been a while, I know, but gotta say like the new look.

    This is actually the first I heard of this movement, however, I always try to do random acts of kindness, I just don’t publicize it. kinda seems like more of an ego thing than anything else.

    Still, if it gets people up, maybe by the time they get to 28 or so, it will just be another habit that they keep doing… we can hope anyway…

    1. I had a few qualms about “publicizing” it, too, until I looked through all the creative acts of kindness people were sharing, and saw a news segment this morning on another kindness movement:

      http://www.minbcnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=839914#.UOEFoW88B8E

      Watch the video and be amazed at what a little kindness can do to a community. Here’s more info, and Jayden’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KeepOnTruckinTeamJayden?fref=ts
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…#28Acts of KindnessMy Profile

    2. I think the key, really, is not to be patting yourself on the back, but sharing inspiration and ideas.

      Of course, this all really started with the novel (later adapted into a movie – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0223897/ ) “Pay It Forward,” and you can learn more about that, here: http://www.pifexperience.com/

      I can’t watch that movie without crying. But whatever inspires you – share it. Share it. Don’t brag about it, just share it to encourage and inspire others.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…#28Acts of KindnessMy Profile

  4. You know, much as I like the idea of honoring the dead from the recent tragedy in Connecticut, I don’t really like the idea of counting acts of kindness. It seems to me that you do acts of kindness when as you can. And that success lies less in racking up any particular number than in making yourself open to better seeing when and how you might be kind to others.
    Libdrone recently posted…A Gentlemanโ€™s CMy Profile

    1. Acts of kindness should not be counted, but ever act of kindness counts. ๐Ÿ™‚

      “When you can” is the issue, I think. And being open to better seeing what even small kindnesses can do to brighten someone’s day, and in brightening someone’s day, you may be truly saving them – or someone else – from grief. You just don’t always get to see the ripple effect, but if there was more of it in the world, you might.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Thoughts on Technology, Community, Censorship, and FriendsMy Profile

  5. Great idea! Why not honor those people who strive hard to protect us and those people who spend their life helping other people without asking any in return.

  6. Hi Holly,

    This is a great idea! I am always looking for such random acts of kindness to do. I usually try to tune into my Higher Power, and am led to do act as the ideas come. However, I think that by doing at least one act of kindness a week is a great idea.

    It will train me to be more aware of when I see someone that needs something. I’ll check out the websites you mentioned as well.

    Let me know how you will proceed regarding sharing these acts of kindness or spreadsheet. I will follow whatever you decide to do.

    One day early this year, I was out on a real cold and windy day, and was led to give my scarf to a man who was fighting the wind. I just went in to Burger King where he was and gave him the scarf. He was very thankful and I left.

    After I left, I felt I should have bought his breakfast, but after sharing incident with a friend, he said I was only told to give the scarf, and I did. That helped me to enjoy the moment of joy I received by giving someone something they needed.

    I’ll start today for next week. Now I have another journal to keep. Loving it! Sally
    sally brown recently posted…Gratitude โ€“ Whatโ€™s In It For Me?My Profile

  7. So far, only Zenab and I have filled out the survey – so there’s really nothing to share from the spreadsheet, yet, as we were just testing it out.

    It’s not mandatory – it’s meant to inspire others. If people enter their acts of kindness, I’ll share them here in the hopes of sparking new ideas. If they choose to keep their good deeds close to the vest, that’s fine, too. At first, I did think sharing them on Twitter seemed a little self-congratulatory, but as I kept reading, I found myself feeling more and more inspired by what people were sharing, and it changed my opinion entirely.

    I do like the idea of including a personal note if you’re doing this to honor someone, and perhaps including the hope that the recipient will, in turn, pay it forward. Something kind and uplifting, though – not demanding or obligatory.

    And I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Most of us do need to train ourselves to be more observant and aware of others’ needs. It’s not that we’re unkind or uncaring, but I think in some cases we may be quite afraid of offending someone with our attempts to BE kind and caring. At least I know this is my biggest obstacle – this feeling that I’d be invading someone’s privacy to reach out and do something nice for a total stranger. Of course, there’s always that teeny-tiny nagging fear that they might just follow me home like a stray puppy… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Both of these unlikely scenarios have their roots in rational fears, if you think about it: How many women have SNAPPED at men for a gesture as simple as holding open a door? How many people are so needy that they wouldn’t want to lose a connection with someone who was kind enough to notice they existed? It only takes a very few such experiences to frighten people back into their own “personal space bubbles,” sometimes.
    HollyJahangiri recently posted…Choices, Choices: Food, Fun, and FitnessMy Profile

  8. Holly, this was a great story. You bring up an interesting point about the number of kindness we should stop to remember.

    I did not follow the story too well, but those twitter acts of kindness are great and a good way to give thanks to what we are thankful for.

    To honor those who need an unselfish act of kindness.

    I appreciate you for bringing this to light. I was not aware of this movement on twitter. I will do my own little tribute in some way.

    Thanks.
    Mietxchael Belk recently posted…Define Ethical BehaviorMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Jodi! What a nice surprise, your comment. I read it on my phone, in the grocery store. That, and responding with a blog post, kept me from replying here sooner. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m looking forward to the challenge, but this business of choosing a theme and pre-writing all the month’s posts has me a bit flummoxed. Wouldn’t be a BAD idea, but it never even occurred to me. I guess I’ve always approached this the same way I do NaNoWriMo – totally seat of the pants. Thanks for stopping by, and thank you for the award.
      HollyJahangiri recently posted…Liebster AwardMy Profile

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