Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Random Acts of Kindness

I wasn't sure whether or not I was going to reveal a secret club my kids and I had started.  In light of recent events in Japan, I have decided to reveal what we've been doing- we've been acting as the Shioya Random Act of Kindness Club.  I feel like maybe this will be an inspiration to others to start doing the same thing.

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:

Then, there was a neighbor whose husband was working very late A LOT and had a particularly bad morning with her kids:
A neighbor who is always so cheery, and had recently been feeling sick:
A few neighbors who had recently moved in:
A neighbor celebrating yet another birthday far from family:
A neighbor who had recently got some news about someone's health in her family, always hard to hear, especially when you are so far away:
There are the neighbors who have lived away from their home countries for so long, but still get pangs of homesickness and forget about the special treats stores sell around the holidays.  There are neighbors, who like myself, are getting ready to move and sad to say goodbye.  Neighbors whose kids are in college, neighbors who seem completely wonderful with no care in the world, neighbors who learned English in Japan, so they could communicate with us.  The bottom line is, there is always someone somewhere no matter what that can use a nice note and a good smile.

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:

"Today, give a stranger one of your smiles.  It might be the only sunshine he sees all day."  ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr


  1. I just love your article! I wrote on the same topic for my blog, empahsizing the health and well being benefits to the person doing the random act of kindness! It doesn't stop and keeps going as one gives to another and they give and so on! Mahalo!

  2. this is so true my friend. Kindness should always be in our hearts and minds. :)