Intentional Random Acts of Kindness
I have a personal issue with the term “random” acts of kindness. Why must they be random? Why not make them deliberate, intentional, or planned? Remember the movie “Pay it Forward”? Very inspirational and motivating… but the acts were not random. So with the literary nit-picking aside, what would I or could I do to make a positive change?
Over the past few weeks and months we have witnessed numerous terrible incidents – both natural and man-made. There was Hurricane Sandy devastating the East Coast; Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and also the Japanese tsunami too. Then there were the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school; at the movie theater in Aurora Colorado; and also in Fort Hood Texas. Amid all these terrible events there have also been many acts of courage, bravery, and compassion too. I was moved by the grassroots efforts to honor the young school victims and their teachers by performing 26 Acts of Kindness. It made me consider how I could make a small change in my home town….in my life… and with my children.
First I need to recognize this one glaring truth – I am pretty well off. Let’s get really honest with ourselves for once. Many, many people are so much more in need than I am, or my wife or my kids for that matter too. And I am not talking about the usual starving kids in Africa speech. Right here in my own middle-class All-American home town there are needy families; homeless people; jobless workers; normal folks who are simply living hand to mouth each and every day. Struggling to not only get ahead, but quite honestly, in many cases just to survive.
But the problem is where to start, and what to do? An act of kindness every day - Yikes, that’s 365 “things” to do and I barely get most things done as it is. Once a week might be more manageable, but it’s a lot like making a New Year’s resolution… I’ll get lazy and let it slip (again being honest here). So how can I develop an Intentional Random Act Of Kindness that can be done, is easy to remember, doesn’t break my social bank account; and is meaningful? How can IRAOK (.. I “Rock” – get it?) in my community?
My solution is to have a monthly IRAOK birthday party (sort of). Basically each month on my “birth day” I would exercise my IRAOK opportunity. So for example, if my birthday is on the 13th, then every month on the 13th I will intentionally aid/assist/reward/ appreciate a needy stranger or family simply as an act of giving or kindness. That would be my day to RAOK each month. Hopefully it will be easy to remember since it is my birth-day…. And 12 times a year is not excessive which allows me to make each opportunity special and memorable. Now imagine if my kids modeled my behavior and started doing this ……or you too?
What do you think? Give me some comments and your thoughts on the IRAOK concept.