Kindness Happens During Be Kind to Humankind Week

kindness of strangers“The Kindness of Strangers”
(Photo by Darinka Maja)

It’s not as though any of us really need a reminder to be kind (do we?). Except, somehow, when there is an extra focus on something good, we remember it more, and it is forefront in our minds. Kindness is a highly-valued, basic human trait that transcends cultures, gender, and ages. All of us appreciate kindness, and it is often the difference between having a good day and a so-so day. Kindness heals, kindness makes us feel appreciated, and kindness makes us more empathetic to others.

History of “Be Kind to Humankind” Week

Born out of a 1998 life changing experience, Lorraine Jara of Toms River, New Jersey, decided to do something about her wake-up moment. She read an article about two young men who were boating when their boat overturned. They clung to its hull in cold water. By the time two young women picked them up in a boat with no radio or motor (while several other boats had passed them by with emergency equipment on board), they were extremely ill. One of the two men died.

Lorraine was aghast that those other boats just kept going, with one passenger even commenting that they didn’t have time to help. So, Lorraine created a memorial for the man who passed away. Then, she founded Be Kind to Humankind Week. She hopes to change people’s attitudes and help everyone remember that we are all in this together.

How Can I Be Kind?

Some of the topics to keep in the forefront of your mind of this week include a focus on forgiveness, lending a hand, thoughtfulness, considering other motorists, sacrificing our needs for others, and touching hearts.

Here are some of my favorite suggestions for how to show kindness:

  • Fix someone dinner: make a meal and deliver it to someone who lives alone.
  • Since it’s “back to school time,” shop for school supplies and donate them.
  • Simplify your life: Clean out your closets and donate the discards.
  • Let someone else go first at a stop sign, or let someone into your lane when driving.
  • Do something nice for a neighbor, especially those who aren’t as mobile.
  • Tell your family you love them.
  • Make a project with your children to help others.
  • Let someone go first in the grocery checkout line.
  • Let your mailman or other service person know you appreciate them.
  • Hold the door for someone.
  • Pay it forward at a tollbooth.
  • Walk a friend or neighbor’s dog.
  • Wash someone’s car.
  • Offer to babysit for free.
  • Grocery shop for someone who is busy or unable.
  • Mow someone’s lawn.

All of these things are pretty inconsequential as it goes, except to the person on the receiving end. What may be a small thing on your part could very well be a big thing on his or her part. Small acts of kindness add up, and are things we each can do every day. Don’t let kindness stop this week – celebrate kindness year around. (Start planning ahead for what you can do for Random Acts of Kindness Week in February, as well.)

Showing you care can make someone’s day. Kindness has a very real impact. Everyone showing everyone else they care could revolutionize the world. As Jara states, she wants to turn the world into a “we” generation.

About Cindy Readnower

Cindy Readnower, MBA, specializes in sales, marketing, and entrepreneurship. An award-winning certified Life Coach, business consultant, and publisher at Skinny Leopard Media, she helps writers produce and promote their books. She is a newspaper columnist, author of "Inherited Secrets," and a blogger.

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