There’s no sugarcoating how hard the past few years have been. But here’s some good news: creating a kinder world starts with us. One small act of kindness has the power to brighten someone’s day and ripple across other lives. There is no limit on the amount of goodness we can put into the world.
In celebration of Random Acts of Kindness Week, we challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and be loud with your kindness. Our staff brainstormed a variety of ways to spread kindness at home, in the workplace, in your community, and beyond. Grab an idea or create your own!
In the Home
- Leave happy notes for family members—in lunch boxes, on the bathroom mirror, etc.
- Text your kids or spouse reminders that you’re thinking of them.
- Put down your phone and look people in the eye when you talk to them. Be present.
- Help with chores, do the dishes, pick up dinner.
- Reach out to family or friends that you haven’t spoken with in a long time.
- Tell a family member why you’re grateful for them.
- Send some happy mail to a friend, just because.
- Call your parents or grandparents for no particular reason.
- Use the magic words. A little ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ can make a big difference.
In the Workplace
- Smile and say “hello” to everyone you see today.
- Start a conversation with someone you don’t know well (yet).
- Tell a coworker how much you appreciate them.
- Treat everyone fairly and with respect.
- Find out people’s language of appreciation. Words of affirmation? Write a kind note. Gift giving? Surprise them with a candy bar on their desk.
- Recognize a work anniversary (maybe with a box of Widman’s chippers?).
- Celebrate someone’s birthday—even if you’re just getting to know them.
- Treat a coworker to their favorite snack, tea, or coffee “just because.”
- Leave a closer parking space for someone else.
In Your Neighborhood
- Take out your elderly neighbor’s garbage. Or, put away your neighbor’s trash can on garbage day, especially when it’s windy!
- Check on a neighbor who lives alone. See if they need anything from the grocery store, etc.
- Shovel a neighbor’s walkway.
- Surprise a neighbor with a care basket. Or, leave ice cream and a movie on their front step during quarantine.
- Clean up litter when you see it.
- Bake cookies and drop them off for a friend who might need a pick-me-up.
- Notice the little things others do to keep the neighborhood looking nice and thank them.
In Your Community
- Support local arts.
- Leave a wildly generous tip.
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
- Greet strangers with a friendly smile as you pass by.
- Spend some time loving on the animals at the Humane Society.
- Hold the door open for others.
- Help an elderly person at the grocery store.
- Donate to Northland Rescue Mission, CVIC, Women’s Pregnancy Center, or St. Joseph’s Food Pantry. Check online for their current list of needs.
- Bonus: Include an encouraging note for staff thanking them for what they do.
- Return someone’s shopping cart for them.
- Pay for a stranger’s meal at a restaurant.
- Call or write a letter to someone in a care facility.
- Ask clerks, servers, and other workers how they are when they ask you.
- Make a feeder for local wildlife and fill it with nutrition-dense food to help them through the critical winter months.
- Praise a local business.
In addition, we asked Grand Forks Public staff how they would personally leave a trail of warm-and-fuzzies this week. Here are a few of their answers:
- I will spread kindness by helping patrons.
- I will spread kindness by following the Golden Rule, going the extra mile to brighten someone’s day, and putting others before myself.
- I will listen before responding.
- I will leave treats and a kind note in the mailboxes of my apartment neighbors.
- I will tip extra when I get coffee.
- I will keep a positive attitude.
- I will encourage friends and family when they are unmotivated.
- I will call our grandparents with the kids to say hello.
- I will help my nephews with their homework.
In the midst of being kind, don’t forget to show yourself some kindness, too! Sign up for a library card and treat yourself to a new book. Say “no” when you need to. De-stress with a craft from CreativeBug. Or, listen to an audiobook while you color this “Make kindness the norm” coloring sheet from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. Treating ourselves with kindness fuels us to sprinkle a little kindness wherever we go.
Commit to doing one small act of kindness every day. This simple act can remind everyone around you how much love there still is in the world.