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.