Manufacture Joy: Perform Acts of Kindness

This series of blog posts is reviewing what we parents can do to instill more happiness and meaning in our lives. This installment regards performing acts of kindness.

Pick a day of the week–your personal kindness day–and perform three acts of kindness. There are an endless number of possibilities. But, here are two dozen ideas to get you started:

• Leave extra money at a drive through for the person behind  you

• Donate to your local library

• Give blood

• Volunteer time at a local soup kitchen

• Donate clothes you don’t need

• Write a thank you note to the person or people who clean your office

• Send a warming e-card to someone who could use a pick-me-up (a sample free service is here)

• Write a letter of support to a soldier serving overseas (a sample way to do so is  here)

• Leave some money in a book, at a retail store, that regards helping a child with a chronic medical condition;  add a note stating “you’re not alone”

• Let someone who has a hurried look about him or her go ahead of you in a line

• Leave a few bucks at a gas pump with a note: “I’m lowering your price of gas today, a friend”

• Leave a larger than normal tip for some good service you received, with an affirming note

• Point out something someone did with excellence at a group office meeting

• Nominate a teacher for an award, copying the nomination to his or her principal and superintendent (for an example of one opportunity, and there are many, click here)

• Send a letter of thanks to a coach who did well by your child, citing specifics

• Sponsor a child whose family or circumstance is stressful (e.g., for example, click here)

• Volunteer or make a donation to your local animal shelter

• Buy some car wash coupons and stick them in a few random cars at the next sporting event your kid is playing at; attach a note stating “we parents can sometimes use a little support too sometimes.”

• Look for opportunities to put change in people’s meters (just make sure that such isn’t illegal where you are)

• Send a donation to an organization that helps kids with cancer (one such opportunity is here)

• Offer to round trip car pool some kids who are going to the same event you need to take your kid to.

• Offer your partner a foot massage

• Shovel a neighbor’s driveway

• Get up before your partner and make her or him a fresh cup of coffee

Research suggests that the helpers high is real. But, you can do your own research study with yourself by trying this practice. Good luck and, if you get a moment, I’d love hearing your kindness ideas.

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