Category Archives: RAOK

The Kindness Habit. It Worked!

The last week of going out of my way to be kind. It was easy and it was a challenge. I found that I tend to do a lot of typically “kind” acts all the time. But going out of my way to make sure I do one act daily?

A challenge.

Day 15 – At Target today, an extremely frazzled mother was trying to keep her cool. With two toddlers in tow, one was being an angel. The other? Was not. She was struggling. People were staring. I found myself getting annoyed with the incessant whining and screaming. But she remained calm and firm the entire time. I glanced over to her a few times and I could see it in her eyes she was losing a bit of confidence. I walked over to her and told her I could see she was having a rough time but she was handling it so well. That I knew it was tough to be firm, especially with this age, but she was doing all the right things. She started to tear up and so did I. We hugged. It’s so hard to be a good mom. Don’t I know it.

Day 16 – Sent out some snail mail. To: my daughter, a Blog World friend, my sister and an out of town friend. Boy, I sure love me some good, old fashioned snail mail.

Day 17 -Made a homemade onion dip (you’ll never buy store bought again!) and put together a little basket of crackers and veggies and dip for our empty nester neighbors across the street. I don’t know if they practice a cocktail hour but at least they have a snack if they do!

Day 18 – Called my aunt. I know what you’re thinking. Jane’s a lazy cheater, trying to use a call to family as a “kind act.” But this particular relative pushes my buttons like no other. So, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to call “just because” instead of having a reason. Don’t judge.

Day 19 – Left a $5 bill in the tip jar at the drive through at Starbucks. The catch? I skipped ordering coffee. There was no line (shocker!) so I just drove through and put some money in. Felt weird and fun, all at the same time.

Day 20 –  Let someone cut in front of me at the grocery store. They had two items, I had half a cart. This “kind deed” was not a stretch at all for me but I quite honestly forgot all about this project until I was racing into the store to grab some things for dinner. How could I forget? I’m almost done.

Day 21 – Another letter writing day. I wrote a glowing letter to the boss of the favorite yoga instructor I told you about here. May she receive a hefty raise.

There you have it. Three weeks of going out of my way to be kind-er. I realized that I already do quite a few things, on a regular basis, that is considered kind by most. I was astonished by some of the “kindness reports” that were shared on the 21 Day Kindness Challenge website. Both in a good way and not-so-good way. But more on that later.

Suffice it to say, my Kindness spilleth over. It was a rewarding experience. It was a challenging experience. It was worth all of my time and effort. It was a challenge to be creative. But that just made it all the more fun.

And the beautiful thing? It IS now a more conscience habit.

21 Days.

It worked!

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Kindness Update. A Little Late.

Kindness Update #2: I have to admit. Week two was much harder. Much harder. I don’t know if it was my schedule, my state of mind (it was a rough week) or a lack of creativity but I struggled to push above and beyond. I’ve determined that I’m a pretty kind person already. It’s this “going out of my way” part that’s hard.

But it IS called the 21-Day Kindness Challenge.

Day 8 – I’m in a letter writing mood. Wrote my grandmother’s dear friend a newsy letter. My grandmother died 13 years ago. She always remembered birthdays with at least a card. I didn’t want my grandmother’s friend to have one less card on her birthday after Grandma died, so I started sending her cards. But I always kick myself that I only contact her once (or twice with a Christmas card) a year. Finally sent her a note just because.

Day 9 – My husband has been amazing with all I’ve been  going through. And he has a weakness for cookies, his only “sweet weakness.” (Well, that and chocolate.) I baked him his favorites and set aside a batch just for him. I admit. I didn’t really go much out of my way to do this. But it’s going to have to count for today.

Day 10 – Gave another insanely generous tip to our waitress. We tried to get out before she saw, but it didn’t work. She was SO appreciative. Smiled a huge smile and mouthed “Thank you!” across the restaurant. With all these insanely generous tips I’ve been doing with this project, I’m realizing we eat out way too much.

Day 11 – Gave double at the church collection basket. I’m tellin’ ya’. Getting creative with this is getting harder and harder.

Day 12 –  Paid for the coffee for the car behind me in the Starbucks drive-thru. Boring? Yes. But it’s an easy kindness act that I’ve done a hundred times before and it still felt good to do.

Day 13 – I like to take my groceries to the car myself, thank you very much. I want to avoid the inane small talk and the chance that my bread will get squished by the Cascade bottle. I know part of why they always offer is so they can bring the carts back in without them piling up in the parking lot. As I was pushing my cart (alone) to my car it started to sprinkle. So, I brought my cart back to the store. All the way inside the store. And then, since I was wet already, I brought ALL the carts back inside the store. Eighteen carts and five trips later, I got a few weird stares. But it felt good to break out of the non-creative kindness challenge rut.

Day 14 – Helping out at my children’s school (which I do once a week – so that in itself doesn’t count) I made it a point to thank each and every non-teacher I came across. The lady who checks parents in. The many lunchroom ladies of various capacities. The janitor. The people that help the kids in and out of cars in the car-rider line. Not just a quick “Thanks!” but a few sentences about how much I appreciate what they do. Glad I got there early. Took a bit more time than I’d planned.

So, there you have it. Week two. A struggle but worth it. Hope this inspires you in your own Kindness Challenge. Feel free to comment or link below. I’m struggling and need to steal a few ideas!

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A Challenge and An Update. Jane’s Twofer Post.

As promised, I present you with my first full week of the 21 Day Kindness Challenge. The difficulty has been in thinking of unique ways to express kindness. As you’ll soon read, I think I’ve failed that part of the challenge. Luckily, I’m the only one who feels my acts need to be unique. That takes some of the pressure off.

Day 1 – Tried to compliment as many people as I could. Cute outfit. Love your haircut. Love your toenail polish. People I knew and saw fairly regularly. And perfect strangers. I reserved the “love your haircuts” and “you look great, have you lost weight?” for people I knew, obviously. I lost track of how many people I made smile. But it was a lot.

Day 2 – The door for swim practice is heavy. Especially for the little ones. So, I stood outside for the first 15 minutes of practice and the last 15, just opening the door for people. Lost track of how many people wanted to hold the door for me so that I could finally go inside. Awkward.

Day 3 – Gave an insanely generous tip for a drive through place that actually accepts tips in the drive through.Was reminded of my pet peeve as she said, “Okay” instead of “Thank You!” when I told her to keep the change. Had to remind myself that this exercise was for others and not just me. Maybe she is mathematically challenged.

Day 4 – Made a conscious effort to learn the names and cheer for the other kids on my boys’ baseball team. I know. I sound horrible. But I rarely know the names of other kids so this was a challenge for me. And, I’m not very vocal. I’m more the strong, silent type of parent when it comes to cheering and by that I mean introverted and shy. My kids know I’m proud of them because I tell them so. Quietly. After the game. But this Saturday was different. And my kids noticed. They can no longer look me in the eye.

Day 5 – Completely forgot the challenge. But, and this is a big “but,” the All-Day-Compliment-Day that I did on the first day has already spilled over and I find myself complimenting people much more often than I did in the past. Must have told 5 strangers today I loved their smile, handbag and Ooooo, your baby is just precious. Does this count?

Day 6 – Wrote the Pool Committee, the most thankless volunteer position ever, an open letter thanking them for a job well done this season. Hopefully, my undying gratitude will keep me off that committee for another year.

Day 7 – Finally wrote to my 4th grade teacher and thanked her for inspiring me to be a teacher one day. According to Google/Superpages she’s alive and well and still living in my hometown. Fingers crossed she gets it.

How about you? Are you in? Share a comment below or link us to your post. We’re not picky. As long as everyone is being kind to one another. That’s the main thing! Click the button over to the right for more info and more ideas on this amazing challenge!

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It IS Selfish. But I Promise. It’ll Do Your Heart Good.

You all know I’m a huge proponent of Random Acts of Kindness. I’ve written about it here, here and here. And I practice Random Acts of Kindness. In my real life. Not just in the one I lead here, in Blog World.

But I have to admit. I practice it rather randomly.

I wish I was more mindful of the practice. While it is not unnatural for me to be kind, I don’t go out of my way. My random acts tend to be spontaneous and convenient and easy. Easy because the situation screamed, “Be Kind!!!”

Waitress having a bad day = leave an amazing tip

Person seems sad in the car behind you = buy their coffee

Neighbor just lost their cat = leave a potted flower on their porch

So, when I came across the 21-Day Kindness Challenge, I knew it was something I had to push myself to do.

And I’m encouraging all of you to at least try. Join me in the amazingly simple yet challenging task.

Admit it. When you give someone a gift, big or small, and it makes them smile, you feel pretty good about yourself. Am I right? In a way, this seems a bit selfish. Doing nice things for people in order to make you feel good. And it is selfish. But in a good way.

They say it takes three weeks to adopt a new habit. For three weeks, each day, we will find something that brings a smile to someone else’s face. Buy someone’s coffee. Let someone cut you in line. Crack someone up with your kid’s latest knock-knock joke. (Ok. Maybe they won’t crack up. At least make them smile. Big.)

After 21 days, the habit will be in place and hopefully, all of us will be better for it. You make other people smile, then your heart will smile. It’s a win-win!

On Wednesdays, I’ll check back here and report my progress. In the comment section or your own blog, you can report your progress. Or not. No pressure. And if you start late, do 2 or 3 or 7 kind acts each day until you catch up. No biggie.

21 Days of Kindness.

C’mon.

Make the world smile.

It’ll be fun!

challengelogo

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Old News But News To Me. And It’s Feel-Good-Friday!

Apparently, this is old news. Three months old, to be exact.

But it’s news to me. So I’m sharing.

The Allegheny Window Cleaning company, in Pennsylvania, surprised a client (a local children’s hospital) with this:

superherowindow

 

Not to be outdone (honestly, I don’t know who went first…it just fit my internet surfing timeline) the window washers at La Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennesee did this:

spi

 

And this great idea is now a movement. If you Google “superhero window washers” you’ll find similar stories popping up all over America. From Pittsburgh to Memphis to St. Petersburg, Florida and beyond.

Bringing joy to these children’s faces, allowing them to forget about their illness for even just a moment is such a precious and amazing thing.

Now, that’s my definition of a Superhero.

 

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Filed under All In A Day's Work, Be-Causes, RAOK, The !!!

Snail Mail. It Does A Heart Good.

An assignment from Jane. (As if you need another thing on your plate.)

But trust me on this one – this will be fun AND it will put a smile on someone’s face. And you get to pick which face.

I have an assignment for you. (Once a teacher, always a teacher.)

Sometime today, or in the next few days, I want you to sit down and send someone, anyone, a piece of snail mail. It can be a thank you note long overdue, a funny card, a newspaper clipping (does anyone read the hard copy of a newspaper anymore?), or just a quick note.

We have email in-boxes filled to the gills. It’s such a convenient and easy way to stay in touch. But think about how nice it is to open your mailbox — the real one, outside your front door — and see amongst the bills and junk mail, a handwritten envelope addressed to you. You scan the return address, you smile when you see who sent it. You race inside and toss the other junk aside. You feel the card in your hands and quickly open it. You giggle at the sentiment inside. You feel warm inside, knowing that someone took the time (all of 5 minutes but it feels like 30) to single you out and send you some sunshine.

Snail mail.

It does a heart good.

(No snails were harmed in the crafting of this post and the author has no financial ties to the United States Postal Service.)

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Al and Tipper? Old News. Apparently, RAOK Is All The Rage.

The first time I was ever featured on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed page I had written a post, two months ago, on the fly, about the Tipper and Al divorce. Just a quick little observation about my impressions of marriage, divorce and media attention. Hits to my blog sky-rocketed. And a whopping 61 comments. 61! I had never generated so much buzz.

Then, I go away for the weekend. Not wanting to let my blog sit dormant, I re-printed a post from December. Just a sweet, little post about my commitment (or lack thereof) to Random Acts of Kindness. Freshly Pressed picked me up again as a featured blog post.

The attention has been astounding.

Simply.

Astounding.

And by astounding, I mean mind-boggling.

I’m standing here speechless. No, make that flummoxed.

The hits? Off the charts doesn’t even begin to describe. And the comments? 209 at last count. And that doesn’t even include all the spam or comments I deleted. (But will make for excellent post material at a later date. Stay tuned!)

A little post about how I tried to make someone’s day with an unexpected surprise. And how I felt guilty not doing it more. Or giving more in that particular moment.

People crawled out of the woodwork, threw down their lurker status and commented in droves. Or they commented on their own blogs and linked back here. Or they cut and paste my post and used it for their blog. (Which I’m still wrestling with the ethics of that, but again, a topic for another post.)

Or they criticized my actions. (But that, too, will be for another post.)

A simple, $3.18 gesture and I’m sitting high on the shoulders of my fellow bloggers and being paraded around Blog World.

A hero.

And isn’t that a little sad? I’m glad a story about paying it forward garnered more attention than a high-profile divorce, don’t get me wrong. But the shock and awe of how a small act of kindness can make such a difference surprises me.

And makes me pause and think and wonder…what if I were more deliberate in my good deeds? What if I challenged myself  to commit at least one RAOK a day, every day. How hard could it be?

So, forget about the challenge I posed to everyone about committing a random act of kindness over the weekend. I’m upping the ante. This isn’t going to be an “every once in a while thing” for me anymore. I’m going to challenge myself to commit a minimum of one RAOK each week. I will post about my successes and inevitable failures (because, contrary to popular opinion right now, I AM human) on a separate tab section of this blog. (No need to start another blog about this issue. There are plenty out there.)

You can join me. You can read and see what I do. You can be inspired all over again. Or, you can criticize what I deem a RAOK.

I don’t care.

I do know that whatever happens I will be a more fulfilled, positive force in this universe.

And a better example to my children.

And that’s all that matters.

Don’t forget! Write your post about blogging to help me celebrate my one year in Blog World. We’ll all meet back here in 3 days (August 13) to link, learn and maybe have a few laughs!

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Filed under Be-Causes, Blogging, RAOK