Thursday, April 3, 2014

Random Acts of Kindess

One of the awesome things about being a human being is our ability to absolutely make someone's day.  Many of us don't utilize this power we have, we very naturally tend to focus on ourselves for most of our waking hours.  My daily thought pattern from waking to sleeping is often something like this:

"I'm tired."
"I'm hungry."
"I'm late."
"I'm busy."
"I'm tired."
"I'm hungry."
"I want to watch the Walking Dead."
"I'm tired."
Essentially, other than struggling to get to work on time and wanting to watch a TV show, I have the same impulses of my dog.  There is a lot of "I" in my life.

To combat my natural selfishness, I decided recently to go out of my way to perpetrate Random Acts of Kindness as I went about my school day.  A list of my deeds would be boring, and a little self serving.  I can tell you though, there is great joy in brightening in someone's day, and ample opportunity in the school setting.  Sometimes all it takes is a smile or a compliment.  Sometimes it takes more.

So far my tale is nothing special (my blog rarely is), but there is a cool twist.  Randomly in discussion with a few 8th graders, they liked the idea, and it led to the formation of the R.A.K. (Random Act of Kindness) Club.  We established the criteria for a Random Act of Kindness as this.  The act must be:

  • Genuine
  • Meaningful
  • Unexpected
Members got points for each R.A.K. that met the criteria.  Soon we started holding meetings, scheming of grand R.A.K's while eating cookies and drinking tea.  The club ballooned into two thirds of my eighth grade class and we are holding a mass "Random Act of Kindness" this Saturday.

I have to say, appealing to our better sides is refreshing.  Human beings do have a unique capacity for altruism that is mind boggling  Kids come up to me every period of every day telling about their R.A.K's.  8th graders have done the dishes randomly for their parents, they've carried books for other students, played volleyball at recess with the younger kids and more.   I feel like this "club" has changed the whole demeanor of the entire class for the better. 

The moral of the story?  Awesomeness is in us all.  And the potential to do amazing things is all around us, we just have to look for it.  

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