We have a saying in our ministry: “Small acts of kindness can make a big difference.” This is a perfect time to reflect on that saying because November 13 is World Kindness Day. The next two months will be full of holiday celebrations, which can create a hectic feeling and make us believe we “don’t have the time” to care for others. As we go about our busy lives, I encourage you to give thought each day to a small act of kindness you can offer another person. That way, every day can be World Kindness Day.
Here are my “Top Ten Small Acts” for you to try, including some with an autumnal twist!
- Compliment three people today.
- Holidays are lonely for grieving people. Take a friend to the movies on Thanksgiving weekend.
- Leave money taped to a vending machine with a note: “Enjoy your snack.”
- Organize a leaf-raking party for a person who is unable to rake their yard.
- Who haven’t you heard from in a while? Send them a “thinking of you” text
- Thank someone who is in a “helping” profession: firefighter, teacher, nurse, an aide in an assisted living facility.
- Whenever you interact with a service provider, no matter how briefly (cashier, waiter/waitress, gas station worker, etc.) use their name as a sign of respect and connection.
- Hide affirming notes around the house for your children, spouse, or friend.
- Plant a flowering bush in memory of a family member or friend. Then share special memories of that person with those who grieve their loss.
- Surprise a lonely or sad person by sharing cider and donuts with them.
[Related: Small Acts of Kindness]
My friend David Myers, who is 17-time book author and professor at Hope College, wrote about the positive effects of “micro kindnesses,” those small acts of outreach to others that help ease loneliness and stress. He relayed several social science experiments in which people reached out to strangers to offer a small gesture of friendship or compassion and the results showed that both the givers and receivers of the kindness felt happier. We all benefit when we are kind to one another.
On World Kindness Day—and every day— let’s all do our part to care for each other.