My husband served his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Ghana, Africa. In summer 2015, I went back to visit with him. Despite being poor, the people are extremely happy, and I believe it is because they know what is most important in life. They know how to be kind. While visiting, I saw my husband serve the people in many ways- helping them prepare food, washing up their dishes, giving the children candy, and buying meals for people. But, they served US in ways that made more of an impact on us than we ever could on them. For example, two of Zach’s best Ghanaian friends, Mabena and Patricia, have almost no possessions to their names. Despite this, they made us one of their most fancy meals the day we arrived because they love Zach so much they wanted to greet us with a warm welcome and make us feel special. Even though they usually eat on the ground with their hands, they set a table for us with plates and cups, complete with a flower in the middle. They were so excited to share their food with us, which was enough to bring tears to my eyes. They don’t care about material possessions as much as we do. They just know the importance of being kind.
Sometimes it seems like the only way to make a difference in the world is through some huge act of life saving service. However, that is not the case. Just like the sweet people of Ghana, we have the opportunity to make small differences in our community EVERY DAY, and contrary to popular belief, it can be done even outside of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season!!
To help gets your little mind gears turning, I have compiled a list of free acts of kindness, donatable goods, and acts of service that cost as little to as much money as you feel necessary to make a difference.
1. Lift your head and smile at people while walking through crowds
2. Make a friend and invite someone new to hang out with your family
3. Spark conversation with cashiers and ask them how they are doing
4. Write hand written letters to your loved ones and hand deliver them or send them through snail mail
5. Call the friends you haven’t talked to for a while and ask how they are doing- you may be surprised what you can learn about them!
6. Go visit the elderly, who often feel lonely and need a friend
7. Shovel snow for someone in the winter or rake leaves for them in the fall
8. Offer to babysit for someone for free so they can go on a date
9. Offer to share your musical talents with others – sing for them, play a song for them, etc.
10. Do the dishes for someone, fold their laundry, or wash their car!
11. Visit people in the hospital
12. Offer to go to the store for a busy family and pick up their groceries for them
13. Write thank you letters to your local heroes- firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical personnel
1. Bring care kits to the homeless (include socks, some healthy snacks, a couple dollars, and a kind note)
2. Go through your clothes and find something warm you can give away to someone who needs it more than you
3. Bring toys to a family who can’t provide very much for their children themselves
4. Donate food to your local homeless shelter or ask what they need most and donate that
5. Use your artistic skills to make something special for someone who could use a cheering up
6. Make dinner for a busy or sick friend- Just double what you are having that night and deliver the extras to them J
7. Make treats and bring them to your neighbors- even (or especially) the ones you rarely talk to or haven’t met before
8. Send a care package to the military
9. Give baby blankets, hats, and diapers to a family who is expecting a baby
10. Donate pet food to an animal shelter
$$ Monetary Donations
1. Buy the groceries for the person behind you in line
2. Donate to a non-profit - Maybe pay it forward to one that has helped you or someone you know. Some non profit organizations I like are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Toys for Tots, Make a Wish, and Primary Children’s Hospital (who saved the life of my niece, Anna).
3. Send someone flowers and a note
4. Donate to a Kickstarter to help a budding entrepreneur
5. Donate to a Gofundme account
6. Donate to your alma mater to help future students get a good experience at school
7. Buy dinner for someone
8. Fill up someone’s gas tank
9. Buy a child a balloon or treat – but make sure to ask their parents first!
10. Pay extra for your lemonade from a child’s lemonade stand and tell them it’s a tip for making you happy
11. Give an extra large tip to the wait staff at a restaurant, tour guide on your next vacation, hair or nail stylist at the salon, or anyone else who looks like they worked hard to serve you and deserve an extra thank you.
Now, I urge you to move past reading this list and put these ideas into action. As Ghandi said, “Be the Change you want to see in the world”. So, following his advice, if you want to see a happier world, BE A KINDER PERSON. Do all YOU can to serve others and make the world a better place. Take a step to be kind to someone today. Spreading kindness is just one way to increase your happiness, so be sure to read this list of ways to intentionally increase your happiness! And, Please feel free to comment with your own ideas on how to spread kindess!! You are THE BEST!!
See you next post!