Margie Braunstein writes about Random Acts of Kindness Day, how it came about, why it’s important to all of us, and ways to celebrate the day.
“One of my favourite movies from many years ago was the movie Pay it Forward. The central character, Trevor, is an extraordinary boy who decides to create a school project wherein people had to pay acts of kindness ‘forward’ so that if someone did something kind for you, then rather than feeling obliged to return the favour, you found someone who was deserving and offered them a kindness instead.
In the movie, the idea took off and became a local phenomenon. It led to many wonderful outcomes for some of the characters and the movie became an inspiration for millions of people, including me.
Paying it forward
This led to all kinds of reports in real life about people paying the toll for the person behind them at the toll booth, paying for the coffee of the person behind them in the line at a café and a general movement towards random acts of kindness.
I’m not sure if there was a link between the foundation called the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and the movie, but it was such a great concept that it wouldn’t surprise me!
Not long after the foundation was established in 1995 in Denver, USA, an annual event was created called the Random Acts of Kindness Day and is now celebrated on 17 February.
The event spread and the observance of the event became more and more widespread until present day where it is widely observed around the world.
On their website they write:
‘the idea is that one can never go wrong with kindness, and there can never be too much of it. The idea behind Random Act of Kindness Day is to cultivate feelings of kindness and brighten up someone’s day. Every small act of kindness is significant. It may seem like it doesn’t accomplish much but, just like the domino effect, one act of kindness can lead to more positive outcomes. Don’t hold back from uplifting others with compliments and compassion on this day’.Random Acts of Kindness Foundation
Kindness has been a part of human behaviour since the dawn of time
It’s one of the qualities that differentiates humans from many other species who are more instinctual and less able to think rationally. As humans, we can choose to be kind, to be selfless, to give without expectation of receiving.
There are so many reminders about how unkind people can be so why not take some time to focus on the goodness of human nature?
We are inspired by kindness whether it is a billionaire giving a generous donation or a child giving their friend a dandelion. It moves us deeply when we witness and experience such selfless acts.
So please join us this year in celebrating the joy that random acts of kindness can offer.
What’s one thing you could do on this special kindness day?
Here are some ideas if you’d like to participate this year on 17 February.
- Compliment a stranger
- Smile at people while out walking
- Pay for someone’s coffee at your local café
- Let someone go first when out driving
- Treat a homeless person to lunch
- Pop some money in a busker’s guitar case
- Make your partner or friend a cuppa
- Anonymously donate to a charity
- Or generate your own ideas and share them on our Facebook page!
Whether it is a grand gesture or a simple random act of kindness, both offer love where it was not expected and while we do this as a selfless act, the benefits are also experienced within us as we circulate a chemistry of joy within ourselves. Everybody wins.
Happy RAK day everyone!”
“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”– Dalai Lama
About the author Margie Braunstein
Margie is a Clinical Psychotherapist, teacher, and leader in transformational learning. She is a senior facilitator with Petrea King Quest for Life Foundation, and facilitates Quest for Life’s Residential Programs.
Margie is passionate about becoming conscious and teaching others to realise how amazing and unique they are as human beings.
Her philosophy is to teach love and to know love from an inner foundation of compassion, generosity, and gratitude through the practices of awareness, acceptance, and heart-based action. She believes that inside each one of us is an essential nature and that when you look deeply you will find the beauty that always lives within.