On the importance of kindness

On the importance of kindness

Every year, on November 13, it’s World Kindness Day.

It’s the one day of the year in which you are asked you to overlook borders, race, beliefs, age and gender and just make one simple act of kindness towards another human being. Your action will be your declaration of kindness to the world.

Kindness is the act or the state of being kind, marked by goodness, charitable behavior, pleasantness, and/or the overall concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions. By making one act of kindness you will inspire others to do the same.

The idea for World Kindness Day originated in Japan in a conference of the Small Kindness Movement in 1998. Currently it is celebrated officially in 21 nations.

The idea of this day is to remind everyone that kindness is free, it goes a long way, and that there are thousands of ways in which we can show kindness and make someone else’s day a little bit brighter.

You can start being kind today! Why not share this article?

Otherwise, you could make small notes using some of this article –or your own words-, explaining World Kindness Day, and leave them in random places where people will see: the elevator, the bus, the gas station pump, or your building’s garbage room.

When November 13 comes around, please try and remember to do something kind! Then, when someone smiles at you and thanks you just smile back and answer “Happy World Kindness Day” (if you feel silly doing this, like I did, you can try my trick: make a couple of notes to keep in your wallet that say “Happy World Kindness Day”). Who knows? Maybe the one(s) you are kind to, will pay it forward. Or, if someone’s watching, it might inspire them to do something kind for another person. The point is to make a difference.

Here’s a list of ”inspirations” for World Kindness Day:

  • Hodor! On World Kindness Day holding the door open for anyone you see coming or going.
  • Saying hi to your neighbors, and smiling.
  • Letting your seat to an elderly person, a mom with a child, or simply to someone who looks tired or is carrying a lot of things.
  • Picking up trash you see in the street and putting it in the trash cans/bins/recycling (this has actually been proven to inspire others).
  • Is there an elderly person living near you that you see often? You could go and offer yourself for a day to help him/her around when you both have time.
  • Inviting a neighbor or neighbors who live alone to have dinner at your place.
  • Making healthy snacks for everyone at the office.
  • Do you know how to cook? You can offer to teach someone; you’ll have a friend for life.
  • Hugging someone.
  • You know that person at work who always helps others, no matter what? How about sending him/her some flowers anonymously thanking him/her for the kindness they show others every day?
  • In the northern hemisphere the cold is coming. Summer is coming down South. Why not go through your clothes for this upcoming season and donate those you know you won’t use to your local shelter?
  • Buying a suspended coffee at your coffee shop: this means to purchase a coffee but don’t take it; instead, you ask the cashier to allow someone who has no money to have it.
  • Buying a meal for a homeless person.
  • Raking your neighbor’s leaves alongside your own, or mowing their lawn (I mention this one because it’s something I do every year if I have time).

Because there’s still a week to go, here are some kindness projects that require a little preparation:

  • Tell your kids/friends about this article and plan something to do together. Here’s some help!
  • Tell your children’s teachers about the day, so that they can organize something in school.
  • Did you try to buy a suspended coffee at your regular shop but were told they don’t have that program? Convincing them to start one would be a kindness in itself!
  • Starting a Free Library Box in your neighborhood/building.
  • Do you live in a house, or group of houses with a community group? You could start a compost project.
  • Sending a care package to a friend/family member who moved abroad.
  • Going to a used bookstore and buy a book for each of your friends/coworkers and gift them on that day. You’d be helping a local business, the environment, and giving thoughtful gifts!
  • Do you have a friend’s/relative’s birthday coming up in November, one who has everything? Why not buy a gift in his/her name from the Pan American Development Foundation’s OppShop?
  • Making a handmade card for someone you care for but have not seen in a long time with a kind message inside. And then mailing it, of course!