Brenda Knight once observed, “At the end of life, I feel sure having lots of money, fancy cars and real estate is not nearly as important as how much love you gave to the world.” This was the inspiration for her uplifting and inspirational book, Be A Good in the World: 365 Days of Good Deeds, Inspired Ideas, and Acts of Kindness. Knight, as part of the team behind the well-known Random Acts of Kindness Campaign, draws on the thousands of letters that have offered wonderful ideas of how to be kind to others.
Kindness is a powerful cure. In their essay, Why Kindness?, the editors of Random Acts of Kindness share this perspective: “The problem is that, when we get wrapped up in our own problems, we forget to take care of others—because our brains go into self- preservation mode. Don’t get us wrong, taking care of yourself is super important: you can’t take care of others without also taking care of yourself. We just need to remember to look beyond ourselves, and see the need in others as well as ourselves. It can sometimes be hard, but it’s immediately, demonstrably worthwhile… because it only takes one kind act to powerfully affect us. .. They’re the little moments that have a big impact—and stay with you. That connect you back to your humanity, remind you how much love there is in the world, and feel so good that they inspire you to spread kindness yourself.” Amen.
Here are some inspired ideas, mostly costing nothing but a bit of time and effort, to be a force of good in the world, to make someone feel good through a simple act of kindness:
Help an elderly person with his or her grocery bags, return a grocery cart, or opening a door.
Call your parents and thank them for their love, support, and guidance.
Invent a special holiday to celebrate someone you love. On this day make them a special dinner, take them out, or write them a card.
At the next party you attend, rescue a wallflower, who is standing alone and feeling lonely.
Learn about the philanthropic organizations and volunteer events that exist in your local area and sign up to volunteer.
Strike up a conversation with a stranger and compliment something about them.
Give a book to someone you know on a topic they might be familiar with or related to something they enjoy.
Make a care package for someone.
Write a nice note to an old friend who you haven’t seen in a while.
Bring your neighbor’s newspaper to their front door and leave a small gift (like homemade muffins or cookies) with it.
Anonymously grant a wish on someone’s Amazon wish list.
Beautify your neighborhood: plant flowers, pick up trash, or trim shrubs.
Read related posts: The Parable of the Carpenter’s Son
The Wisdom of Tom Shadyac
The Wisdom of Martin Luther King
The Wisdom of Maya Angelou
The Wisdom of a Grandmother
The Wisdom of the Ancient Greeks
The Wisdom of Lady Grantham
The Wisdom of Morrie Schwartz
For further reading: Be A Good in the World: 365 Days of Good Deeds, Inspired Ideas, and Acts of Kindness by Brenda Knight (2015)