Not So Random Acts of Kindness.

February 21, 2011

I will preface this post by saying that 1)I’m not a parent and 2)I had a pretty crappy childhood (don’t worry, I’ll write a book about it one day), but I have a lot of friends that are parents and I have a pretty cool nephew. That said, I have a feeling that this post might get me in a little trouble.

When I was in high school I had a teacher, Mrs. Murley. She taught history and also was the student council advisor.  I can’t say that I appreciated this teacher and I disagree with a lot of the things that she did. However, there are certain things that she did that I will never forget. She gave us an assignment to record five “random acts of kindness” for two weeks.  She challenged us to be nice and do kind things for others. These acts weren’t truly random, but this exercise began a lifetime of giving for me. For this, I will be forever grateful to Mrs. Murley.

Fast forward to 2011.

My friend Jen was asking me about ways that she could raise money for her daughter’s softball team. Don’t get me wrong, Jen is a great mom with a great kid, but I wasn’t compelled to help her. The reason is the same reason why I didn’t want to buy cookies from the Girl Scouts that were selling cookies a few weeks ago. The reason is that a lot of great parents support their children by helping raise money for school activities, sports and the arts. The problem is that what I have noticed is that the parents are asking for money to support their own kids. It’s the parents doing the work without teaching the kids about the spirit of giving and much of the efforts simply benefit them. In my mind, good parents should support their kids’ activities, but it’s very different from doing an act of kindness. Being a volunteer for your kids’ school or team is great, but it’s not necessarily an act of kindness and it’s not teaching the kids to do good things for others.

I still want to help Jen in her fund raising efforts so I challenged her. I am happy to help support the softball team if the kids do something good for the community. This can be volunteering to help the elderly, working at a food bank or even taking care of a neighbor’s pet. The idea is that giving to the world starts now.

I was fortunate that I learned this lesson in high school and have made it part of my mission in life.  My goal of this post is to challenge not only Jen, but everyone. What are you doing to make the world a better place?  I’d love to hear about your “random acts of kindness” in the comments section.

P.S. Ask me about my nephew, I love to brag about him!