I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
A few years ago, a Facebook group I belonged to put out a challenge for members to perform Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) and post to the group about their experiences. However, the moderator who posted it just used the acronym, “RAK” instead of spelling it out. All I understood was that she was asking us to perform a RAK (huh?) on someone. That was a bit disconcerting for me. What would be going through YOUR mind? I was thinking she was either requesting us to do someone bodily harm or pull a seriously mean prank on some unsuspecting person. Thankfully, some other clueless, brave soul in our group piped up and asked what a RAK was.
So…What are Random Acts of Kindness?
This is the fun part. The definition is simple but the possibilities are endless! You challenge yourself to go out and perform an act of kindness for someone – not expecting anything in return. Anyone. Strangers. Friends. Enemies. It’s even MORE enjoyable if you can get away with no one knowing who did it. Admit it, you are excited to try this too, right?
There are actually numerous websites that are dedicated to this purpose. They have a huge selection of fun ideas on how to show love to others in various ways. I cannot explain the state of euphoria that comes from sneaking around town pulling off “kindness” acts. It’s like planning a surprise birthday party for someone and running away when they walk in so they don’t know who planned it. Well, something like that. You won’t know how much fun this is until you get out there are try it for yourself.
Ready for ideas? Check out these websites:
Plan on grabbing a bowl of pretzels and a tall iced tea and hanging out a while here. I promise, you are going to want to run out immediately to try some of these ideas – there is SO much inspiration!
With 101 Easy Ideas for Random Acts of Kindness, you should be set for life. One of the suggestions is to bring donuts in for the office staff. You KNOW you are going to grab one for yourself while you’re at it, so you walk away happy too. 🙂
- Brad Aronson’s Blog
This guy’s blog is so positive and upbeat with a headline that reads, “Inspirational Stories, Good News and a Focus on the Positive“. Brad had one idea about giving kids in your neighborhood little gift baskets. Usually, all they get from me is their ball back after it went over our wall for the third time. I can’t wait to try this one!
These are just a few of my favorite websites I ran across but, as we all know, a Google search will give you an ocean full of resources. (By the way, I do not receive any benefits from suggesting these websites. I am just recommending them because they have great ideas and as a small act of kindness from me!)
For my personal Random Acts of Kindness challenge, here’s what I did: (I also created
my own adorable cards you can print for free that you will see below and here.)
I printed adorable little RAK cards from Barbara Schwenk (free Google.doc download!):
After I cut them out, here are a few ways I used them to perform Random Acts of Kindness:
1. Put quarters in tiny baggies and stapled a RAK card to them.
I have to giggle because I made these little RAK baggies because I was going to tape them for kids on gumball machines at my local grocery store. It would be hilarious to see a video of me trying to glide by the machines and stick them on without being detected. It probably looked like I was slipping illegal substances in the gumball machines. (Yikes!) What made it even funnier to me is when my teenage daughter told me later, “Mom, you know gumball machines cost 50 cents these days, right? Those kids could not even buy a gumball with a quarter.” I reasoned someone still got a free quarter anyway. Sigh…
2. Paid for someone’s order behind me at Starbucks.
This took me a few days to do because, well, I had good reasons. The first day I tried this at Starbucks, there was a single young man in the car behind me and there was NO WAY I was paying for his order and him think I was trying to hit up on him or something. I drove on…
The next day (that I had extra money, that is), there were at least five people in the minivan behind me and I was frantically calculating what it would cost if every one of them ordered a cake pop and Frappuccino each. Again, I drove on…
One morning, I pulled up to the drive-through determined to do this challenge but there were no cars behind me. I placed my order and pulled up to pay. Right when the cashier gave me my total, I saw a single woman pull up to order. “Put that lady’s order on my tab!”, I quickly added. Then, I handed the cashier one of my pretty RAK cards and told her to give it to the woman when she tried to pay. The most thrilling part of this was me trying to haul out of there before the woman could catch up to me to thank me or even see my face. Imagine me trying to explain to the police officer that I was speeding because I was avoiding gratitude for an act of kindness. (giggle)
3. Taped RAK cards to dollar bills and put them randomly in books at the library.
I thought I did pretty well at looking casual as I opened random books and slipped in my kindness treasure. Sure, a passerby may have thought I was trying to slip religious tracts in the books but God knows what I was really doing. 🙂 Again, with my over-active imagination, I pictured someone finding one of my RAK card/dollar gifts and spending several hours afterwards searching all the books for more.
Ok, enough about me. The challenge of Random Acts of Kindness is that it is NOT about us. It’s always about others but the ripple of the fun and joy it brings always seems to trickle back to you anyway. I love that part!
To start my new year out doing something for YOU, I created some RAK cards for you to print and enjoy on your new journey to touch other’s lives.
Print on quality cardstock for better durability. Enjoy!
Now it’s YOUR turn! I challenge you!