The Shioya Random Act of Kindness Club was something I had on my mind for a very long time, but took forever to implement. Basically, I just wrote a nice note, with a small gift and left it randomly at a neighbor's house. This past Christmas, I was inspired by this blog of a photographer named Katherine Marie. For Advent, she had her kids do a random act of kindness a day, something I plan to do next year. Then, in January, she implemented 52 weeks of Kindness and provided links to some more inspiration, this one I really liked, Secret Agent L. I finally decided to start my own Random Acts of Kindness Club. I feel like it is teaching my kids a valuable lesson about doing nice things for others when they least expect it.
Disappointed by the fact that he did not get a golden ipod for Christmas, my oldest son asked me if I thought Cupid would bring it for Valentine's Day or the Easter Bunny for Easter. I began to realize the expectations he has grown to have for the holidays. I wanted him to have a better sense of the feeling of giving and not just receiving and that a holiday wasn't necessary for giving. I noticed myself that it is always around Christmas that we send packages to homeless families and give more money to Salvation Army. The other time we really give is when a tragedy strikes, such as the recent earthquake in northern Japan. Why do we wait until such times to give or let someone know that we care. I wanted to let my children know the excitement that comes with truly surprising someone with a random gift or uplifiting someone when they least expect it and mostly that people need things at times other than just holidays.
Living far from home, it didn't take much to think of ideas for my neighbors. Each one received a special note and gift- I found some inspiration for the notes from these sites, kindness quotes, friendship quotes, motherhood quotes, and smile quotes.
First, was the neighbor who was home alone with three kids while her husband was away on business:
A neighbor who is always so cheery, and had recently been feeling sick:
A few neighbors who had recently moved in:
With the tragedy that is upon Japan right now, I am more encouraged than ever to keep delivering "random" notes and smiles to people. While a holiday gives us a perfect reason and forces us to let people know we care, I challenge you to try it on a non-event day. Even if you can only do it once a year, once a month, or once a week, you can send a card, an email to someone you lost contact with, make a call, give a gift card to a completely random stranger. You don't want to miss the chance to tell someone you care, that they are special, or that you love them. Take the time to notice someone today.
In the past few days, many people have been asking me how to help the people in Japan that are suffering right now, and that is something I am trying to figure out. I have a few ideas and will be posting more on that in the next few days (may be a slight delay due to the arrival of a new baby), but I can say they are more than deserving of whatever act of kindness we can send their way. Stay tuned.
A favorite quote I've come across in doing this: