Random acts of kindness will take place around the world this weekend as thousands of people participate in the fourth annual ‘Pay It Forward Weekend’ on Jan. 15 through Jan. 17, 2016. The focus of the Pay It Forward Weekend event is pretty simple. As noted on the Pay It Forward Weekend Facebook event page:
“Beginning Friday Jan. 15 through Sunday Jan. 17, 2016 we are encouraging everyone to participate in our 4th annual “Pay It Forward Weekend”. We are asking everyone to do at least one random act of kindness (more than one is even better). It is very easy to participate, all you have to do is do something for someone or some organization without expecting anything in return. Pay for a stranger’s meal, send someone a card, volunteer some time. The ideas are endless. All it takes is a spark to get a fire going. By clicking join, you can make a difference and who knows, maybe change someone’s life. Get on Board, invite all your Facebook friends to join and let’s see if we can change someone’s world this weekend. Who knows, it might be your life that gets changed.”
Anne Herbert, an American writer, is said to have coined the phrase, “Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” in the late 1980s. The random acts of kindness movement took off, spreading like wildfire through the U.S. and all over the world.
Bakersfield College Professor Emeritus Chuck Wall is also credited with playing a part in the random acts of kindness movement. In 1993, after hearing a radio newscaster announce another random act of senseless violence, Wall gave his Human Relations students an outside assignment to go out into the community and “commit one random act of senseless kindness,” write up the kind act and analyze the experience of both the giver and recipient of the act.
Another player in the kindness movement is KIND Snacks, a healthy foods company based in New York City. KIND, founded in 2004 by Daniel Lubetzky, does more than just making healthy snacks. Lubetzky is also the author of the New York Times bestseller “Do the KIND Thing.” All of Lubetzky’s proceeds from the book go towards ‘celebrating and furthering individuals’ acts of kindness and courage in their communities.’
The KIND Movement has a mission to inspire kindness, one act at a time. One of the KIND team’s favorite ways to spread and celebrate kindness is with #kindawesome cards. Individuals hand out these cards when they see a friend or stranger perform a kind act. Each card has a special code, which the recipient can enter online to receive a token of KIND’s appreciation as well as another #kindawesome card to pay it forward.
Let the kids join in the Pay It Forward movement with you. These ideas will kickstart your family’s Pay It Forward Weekend:
Pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru line. Whether you’re at McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Starbucks or any other drive-thru, just ask the cashier to add the next person’s total to your bill.
Bring a meal to someone who’s homebound. Bring lunch or dinner to an elderly person who can’t get out of the house alone or a parent with a new baby. Call first to ask if it’s okay for you to drop by for a visit, but let the meal be a surprise.
Visit someone in a hospital or nursing home. Some nursing homes offer “Adopt-a-Grandparent” programs, which pair up a nursing home resident with a college student or teenager for visits and spending time together.
Pick up some extra cans or boxes of nonperishable food at the grocery store. Drop them off at your local food pantry or soup kitchen to help someone in need. While you’re there, sign up to volunteer as well.
Sort through seasonal clothing to bring to a homeless shelter or toys to donate to a children’s hospital, nursery or preschool. Sharing your blessings brings you blessings in return.
Kindness doesn’t have to cost you anything. Share a smile with a stranger. Compliment a store clerk or waitress. Run an errand for a friend or neighbor. Send a positive text message to someone who’s struggling.
Ask the kids to help brainstorm acts of kindness your family can do. Visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website or the Pay It Forward Weekend Facebook page for many additional random acts of kindness to perform on Pay It Forward Weekend.
Share your act of kindness to inspire others or keep it to yourself, if you prefer. Kids are always watching and learning from their parents’ examples. Who will you help this weekend?