Go Beyond Random Acts in 2013

(I am having some technical problems with my blog, kids, including the inability to insert photos and links. I’m pretty techno-challenged, so please bear with me. I’ll fix it sooner. Or later. Maybe a lot later.)

By now you have probably heard about the 26 Random Acts of Kindness campaign, where people are being encouraged to do 26 acts in honor of the victims of the Newtown/Sandy Hook tragedy.

 Here is a small sampling of acts I found on Twitter, searching  #26acts:

  •  Helped an elderly woman with her luggage.
  • Sent books to troops.
  • Left a 100% tip at a restaurant.
  • Made hot chocolate for my uncle.
  • Donated money to [various causes].
  • Donated blood.
  • Paid the toll for the driver behind me.

While I applaud any kind of kindness done for whatever reason, I can’t help but look at some of these acts and think that they should not be random at all, but should be regular acts that we all perform for each other almost every day. Helping people with their physical burdens, donating blood and money, and supporting our troops should not wait to be done randomly when a national tragedy occurs, but should be woven into the fabric of all of our lives.

 So if you are considering a change in your life, as most of us tend to do at a new year, consider making this your resolution:

 I resolve to be a kinder person and do something every day that helps another.

In other words – ditch the “random”. And while you are making yourself a better person, consider adding one or both of these resolutions:

 Fix a mistake involving another person. 

We all have broken connections with people that we should mend – old friends or relatives that have been distanced by time or circumstances. Earlier this week a friend posted on Facebook that the only thing he wanted for Christmas – which he didn’t get –  was a call from someone from whom he was estranged. Now as never before we have tools to help us rebuild these connections; I search Facebook and other online social groups regularly for people with whom I have lost touch but whose presence would enrich my life if I could get them back. It was a mistake to lose touch in the first place – try hard to fix it. Don’t wait for the other person to come to you. Reach out – again and again if necessary.

 Volunteer your time to the disadvantaged.

Volunteering for professional organizations like SHRM is great, but if you really want to make an impact you should consider helping the truly unfortunate.  Giving money is nice, but giving your time is the most precious donation of all.  There is no shortage of organizations that could use your help – abused women and/or children, literacy programs, homeless advocacy, or animal rescue and foster (my personal passion). It’s unfortunate that our society has this kind of need, but it’s even worse that we all look to everyone else to fix the problem. Start being part of the solution by contributing your time and talent.

Don’t stop helping the elderly with their luggage or the mother struggling with packages and a stroller with the door. That help should become as regular and natural as breathing. And put some real effort into finding the people you have lost and helping those people and creatures that would be lost without you.

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6 thoughts on “Go Beyond Random Acts in 2013”

  1. It was good of you to put these thoughts into writing Joan. Volunteering for a professional organization is a résumé builder and WIIFM activity, not an act of kindness. And, people are cheating and playing mind games with themselves if they count door holding, giving blood or making a family member hot chocolate, etc, as acts of kindness let alone random acts – not invested in being a better person, helping others, or helping to make the world a better place. Thanks for this post.

  2. How many people don’t even volunteer for professional organizations, even though there is clear WIIFM value? I’m sure it’s not because they are too busy volunteering for needy charities.

    People always seem surprised when I hold a door for them – like it never happens. It always makes me wonder why people just don’t DO IT, like breathing. So sad.

  3. I love this post. Funny, I had the very same thought. We should be doing this always and everyday. It’s nice that it is getting some airtime but really, it’s what we should be doing to and for each other.

    LOVE. Happy New Year.

  4. Great post! I too agree that we should all take the “random” out of acts of kindness. I currently volunteer for several organizations, and I try to do something nice each day. Maybe we should call 2013, the #365daysofkindness. Happy New Year! I hope to connect with you more in 2013.

  5. I agree Joan. It is important that we all continually strive to be better people and the best place to start is by impacting our interactions with everytone. If we start with the basis of respect for everyone as people, the acts should be instinctive. When we start building a mental class seperating ourselves from others, the trouble begins.

    This includes respect for our children. If we treat our children with respect, they learn the behavior, return the respect and grow up feeling better. We are not a seperate species for any other human, so we we need to start treating people as peers and with respect, regardless.

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