By Laura Grace Weldon
1. Give genuine compliments. You might want to challenge yourself to give compliments to five or ten people a day. It keeps you on the lookout for truth and beauty. Tell a clerk she has a lovely voice, a child that his smile made your day, a loved one that their eyes are beautiful.
2. Keep duplicates of your child’s toys and books in the diaper bag. When you encounter fussy children, offer an extra to their parents.
3. Call an elderly relative or neighbor once a week to chat. You may think you’re enriching that person’s life. They’re enriching yours too.
4. Write a thank you note. To see the powerful impact this practice can have, check out A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life.
5. Write an anti-thank you. Sure, it seems counter-intuitive but it’s a way of using a negative experience to help others.
6. Take your compliments about an employee to management. Chances are you’ll never see the impact. Chances are, it’ll be greater than you imagine.
7. Give up a great parking space for the car behind you. Parking farther away simply gives you more exercise.
8. Hold the door open for the person behind you.
9. Smile. Find out 10 ways this face stretcher benefits you as well as those on the receiving end.
10. Greet new people on your street with a small gift such as a houseplant or plate of cookies. The neighbors you’ve never met? Try online resources to connect with your neighbors, even to share some sugar.
11. Give gifts that do some good.
12. Set books free. Donate them to a good cause (a nearby school, your library’s book sale?) or leave them ala Book Crossing to find new readers.
13. Be aware of newcomers to your workplace, school, church or other organization. Make a point of greeting them and introducing them to others.
14. Donate blood. One pint of blood can save up to three lives.
15. See an act of aggression? Get involved even if it seems like none of your business. That’s a kindness too.
16. Donate pet food to the nearest animal shelter. While you’re there, offer to walk a few dogs.
17. Leave a positive review for a local business on Merchant Circle, ThinkLocal, or Yelp.
18. Patronize kids’ car washes and lemonade stands.
19. Designate a tiny container as your family’s Pass It Forward box. Tuck it somewhere one member of the family will find it (under the bed pillow works) with a little surprise inside (a loving note, a handmade coupon for an unexpected perk, some chocolates, a drawing, a map of a place you’re going that day, a compliment). That person is expected to put something else in the box and leave it for another family member, so kindness can circle around and around.
20. Set a good example, be kind to yourself.
About Laura Grace Weldon
Laura Grace Weldon is a writer, editor, conflict resolution educator, and marginally useful farm wench. She’s the author of Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything and slow at work on her next book, Subversive Cooking. She lives with her family on Bit of Earth Farm. Click over to visit her blog or see what she’s up to on GeekMom.
(Image: CC by 2.0 williamshannon’s flickr photostream)