Small Gestures That Make Others Smile
With our busy lives, it’s easy to lose sight of the little things we can do to make the world a kinder, gentler place. As a result, kids miss out on golden opportunities to emulate kindness and experience its rewards.
Writer and artist Pamela Thomas Torres says, “Kindness is an activity of the heart; it requires a willingness to be vulnerable in order to attend to another human beings needs.”
It is best taught through example, she explains, as “kind words and random acts of kindness go a long way to convey a lifestyle of kindness.”
So, why not set a goal with your grandkids and see how many acts of kindness your family can rack up in a single day or week?
Here are some ideas to get started.
Visit an elderly neighbor. Many seniors are shut in because they can no longer drive. Often, even those who do drive don’t get the social interaction they need. It’s likely someone in your neighborhood could use some company.
Offer a compliment. It doesn’t get any easier than this. But don’t offer praise you don’t mean; it’ll come off as disingenuous. Notice what someone is wearing or doing, or think about the person’s personality or something they’ve done. Then offer a compliment you really mean.
Donate. It can be a small monetary donation to a good cause, or you can donate items you no longer need to a homeless shelter, animal rescue, or toys-for-tots collection.
Help someone with their homework. Do you know a classmate who struggles in a particular subject? Offer to help them study for a test or to understand a concept for a homework assignment.
Stand up for someone. Do you know a student who’s bullied or always left out? Look for an opportunity to tell those who are being judgmental to be a little kinder or that they’re being unfair.
Make friends with someone who’s left out. Is there a classmate who’s always standing alone on the playground or who sits alone at lunch? Offer to join that person.
Bake cookies for your teacher or someone you appreciate. Show your appreciation by baking their favorite goodies.
Call grandparents or great-grandparents. This is a big one. Often, grandparents are the ones to initiate calls. Make your grandparents’ day by giving them a call, instead.
Hold the door for someone. This is another super easy gesture that’s sure to be appreciated by someone who’s elderly, disabled, or really anyone.
Write an apology to someone you’ve hurt. We’ve all said and done things that have hurt someone’s feelings. Take ownership of it and write a heartfelt apology.
Post something nice on the social media page of someone who needs a friend. Make that person’s day with a positive comment on their page.
Buy a friend a candy bar. This is a simple way to show your friend you’re thinking of them.
Volunteer for a good cause. There are many opportunities right in your community. You could volunteer at a soup kitchen, pick up trash at a park, or help with a canned food drive.
Help someone with yard work. Do you know a handicapped or elderly person? Offer to mow, rake, pull weeds, or shovel their snow.
Buy a homeless person a meal. If you see someone wandering who clearly looks homeless or is standing on a street corner with a sign, pick up a meal and take it over to them.
These are just a few ways to begin instilling a life of kindness into your kids and grandkids. See how many more you can come up with yourselves!