The Power of Kindness Can Change the World
By Kimberly Boney
The Ripple Effect
Story by Kimberly Bonéy
WHEN A SMALL LEAF, drop of water or pebble hits a body of water, it casts an outward ripple that continues until it’s out of view, making an impact on something much larger than itself. Such is the case, also, with a kind deed. It doesn’t take much to make an impression, but kindness transcends past that moment, and into the hearts of those who bear witness to it.
It’s the reason why one person making a decision to treat the person in the car behind them to their order in a drive through creates a chain reaction – and why the recipients of such a kind deed make a point of mentioning what a joyful experience it was. It’s why people make anonymous donations to kids’ overdrawn lunch accounts, and why it warms our hearts to witness a stranger stop to help someone they don’t know at a crucial moment. Kindness begets kindness. Kindness changes energy and it changes people. It’s a blessing to be on both the giving and receiving end of kindness – and it’s a blessing to watch it unfold.
Have you ever had a tough day and, seemingly out of nowhere, one simple gesture from another human being magically lightens your emotional load? In that instant, you might have gone from feeling like no one in the world even knew you were there to being seen and cared for – even if for just a moment. Chances are you couldn’t stay sad or frustrated after that. That shift in energy came as a result of kindness. There is power in that acknowledgement – in a person knowing that they are not alone in the world. It may even be the catalyst in that person becoming a blessing for someone else.
Kindness is often thought of as random altruism. But what would the world be like if we all made a concerted effort to be kind to our fellow human beings? Could we change the tone of things in our own home, our neighborhood, our city, our state or our country? Could we change the world at large? Could we, at the very least, change ourselves? Our kind deed may not alter the state of the world, but it can alter the world in a positive way for the person on the receiving end of the kindness.
Whenever possible, do something kind for someone who may never know the source of the deed – or someone that may never be able to repay you. Don’t record it for the purpose of sharing it on social media. Don’t tell your friends. Move in silence when exacting your kindness on the world. It’s not about the kudos that come from doing a good deed; it’s about releasing kindness into the world and hoping it spreads like wildfire.
It’s been said that something becomes a habit after 66 days. So, here is a challenge. Pick from this list of 22 acts of kindness and commit to sharing one each day with someone who needs it. Repeat this practice three times over, until it has become second nature to you. Now, watch how the world around you changes for the better.
1. When cooking a meal, double your yield and share the second half with someone who doesn’t have enough food to eat.
2. Lend a helping hand to someone who is struggling to carry a heavy load – even if it means simply holding the door.
3. Donate your old books to a school, a senior center or a Little Free Library. Leave a note of encouragement inside for the next reader.
4. Pick flowers, fresh fruit or vegetables from your garden and give them to someone who needs a pick-me-up.
5. Find a GoFundMe account for a person you don’t know directly with a story that resonates with you. Make an anonymous donation. Tell absolutely no one.
6. Treat the person behind you in line at the grocery store to something (or everything) in their cart. Ask them to pay it forward to someone else when they can.
7. Mow your neighbor’s lawn and pull their garbage cans in.
8. If you find a lost pet, stop and make a call to his or her owner. Someone misses that four-legged family member dearly.
9. Be a listening ear for someone who needs it – even a stranger. It’s often easier to talk to a stranger about something painful than it is to talk to a loved one.
10. Bring a blanket, a coat and a hot cup of coffee to someone who lives on the street.
11. Create some care kits filled with toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, lotion, feminine products and a hairbrush. Give them away to those who need them.
12. Always ask someone their name – and share yours with them. There is comfort in having someone acknowledge you in a personal way. Do this with cashiers, people on the other end of a service call, people who live on the street and everyone in between.
13. Provide an act of service for someone else. If you are handy with a nail and hammer, help reinforce a broken fence. If you are passionate about books, read to a classroom once a week.
14. Purchase a complete meal for a family in need during Thanksgiving. Repeat the process as many times as you can afford to.
15. Offer to babysit for a couple who needs a night out.
16. If you see a parent struggling through a difficult moment with a child, offer them a genuine,
knowing glance of acknowledgement or a word of encouragement. For a parent at their wit’s end, it may be just the boost they need to keep going.
17. Volunteer with a local group to help clean up a park, cemetery or another area that needs some TLC.
18. Instead of donating your used clothing to a thrift store, seek out a specific person (or people) that need them. Make sure they are cleaned, ironed and folded. Include a handwritten note of encouragement.
19. Gather a team of friends to help clean up the yard or home of someone who needs a helping hand – with their permission, of course. Whether it’s an elderly neighbor or a family in crisis, the gift of a clean and orderly space will be world-shifting.
20. Send a care package to a child (or several) in foster care. Teenagers are the least likely age demographic to be the recipient of a gift from charitable drives. Consider starting there and working your way down in age.
21. Teach a skill you have mastered to someone else. There is nothing more kind than sharing your passion with someone. You’ll simultaneously create two legacies.
22. Step in as a “family member” for someone who needs it. If you can be a parental figure, a bonus grandparent, an extra son or daughter, or a brother or sister from another mister for someone else, that’s the kind of love that has the power to change someone’s circumstances and their heart. No legality needed – just love. •