Acts of Kindness

6249249013_b84f58654f_b2015 has not been a year that made it easy to think about peace, hope, and joy – words we often use at this time of the year as we celebrate the holidays.

We can’t change what’s happening in the world, but we can do something to introduce peace, hope, and joy to the parts of the world we live in. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot for the last few days. And as I did, three ideas, or thoughts, came to mind.

Thought one: Even in the worst situations, we can choose to be good.

Viktor Frankl and his wife, like many other Jews during World War II, were sent by the Nazis to the Auschwitz concentration camp (prison for many people). Frankl, a psychriatist (doctor who treats mental illness), survived. His wife didn’t. In a book he wrote after the war, Frankl said that his experience taught him that there was one thing the Nazis couldn’t do: they couldn’t take away his freedom to be himself.

Thought two: If enough people do small acts of kindness, they can make a difference and be noticed by others.

George H. W. Bush – the first president Bush – frequently spoke about the need for people and organizations to do good. If they did, he suggested, all their good deeds would “spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.”

Thought three: All of us can practice random acts of kindness.

While having lunch one day, Anne Herbert came up with the idea of practicing “random (not planned or organized) acts of kindness….” A random act of kindness is a selfless (caring more about other people than yourself) act you do to help or encourage someone else. Her book Random Acts of Kindness has encouraged thousands of people and organizations to do exactly that.

So, what can we do? Here are some ideas from a variety of sources:

  • Be generous with compliments (praise or congratulations for someone). The next time you see someone doing something well, let them know you saw them.
  • Volunteer to help at a community center program for older or disadvantaged people. If you can’t, occasionally drop in for a few minutes, sit down, and chat with the people who are there.
  • Leave a book you enjoyed where someone will find it and hope they will enjoy it as much as you did.
  • Let the person behind you in line go ahead of you.
  • Find a nice piece of clothing you haven’t worn for a while. Take it to a place that will give it away, free, to someone who needs it.
  • Thank your mail carrier, your barista (person who makes coffee drinks), or the janitor (person who cleans) where you work. If you don’t know their name, introduce yourself; you can thank them by name the next time.
  • The next time you see a mother or father with their children, look them in the eye and smile at them in a way that says, “You’re doing a great job!”
  • The next time you order a snack or drink, leave a ten-dollar tip.
  • Write a simple message, like “You are important” on a pile of cards and leave them in various places, like under the windshield wiper of someone’s car, where people will find them.

There are many easy ways to help make our world a better place. All of us can do something. And we should.

What ideas do you have for random acts of kindness? Use the comments to make a list. Also, if you’ve received or done a random act of kindness, tell us about your experience.

Happy holidays to all of you … and peace, hope, and joy.

~ Warren Ediger – English coach/tutor and creator of the Successful English website.

Photograph by David used under Creative Commons license.

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15 Responses to Acts of Kindness

  1. peter says:

    Hi Warren ,
    Thanks for the peaceful post.
    I hear u man.
    In the world that going to hell in a hand basket, even one act of kindness can make a huge difference.

    Well , Canada is not stranger to the whole notion of giving , caring , loving , tranquility and peace.
    As history suggest that Canada has always been a pioneer to a lot of peace movements and amicable acts at the global scale.
    It was always an advocate for justice and a massager for peace.

    Well , take my home town Toronto for example , there is always a lot of charitable people who takes part In numerous charity events held through out the year.
    In addition to that , there are a lot of non profit companies and reach-out programs that help people in need.
    And , let me tell u this , most of this humane , out-of-kindness acts are being done under the rather as most people Involved don’t seek acknowledgment and recognition for the good deeds.
    I myself once was a part of a reach out program in downtown Toronto.
    Well ,I was involved for a short period of time.
    You know the program would assign each group to a different area of downtown.
    We would hand out hands-me-down , donated food and stuff like that to homeless people.
    What we once did was driving around downtown in a truck and distributing parkas and sleeping bags among homeless people.
    You know , u can come up here and check for yourself , in general , Canadians are very friendly and peaceful people who always reach out to people in need.
    All I just said was just a prelude to the fact that empathy is a prime emotion. It is a noble emotion that I personally believe benefits donor more than donee 🙂 for it makes one feel good about themselves.

    Perfect timing Warren
    Thanks for the thoughtful post
    I always enjoy ur posts.


  2. Dan says:

    Hello everyone

    Thanks Warren. Wish you and your family to have a peaceful holiday.

    I agree with all the above and adding to that list I would like to remember animals of other species.

    Please, do not buy pets. Get them from animal shelters.

    Be kind to animals in general and treat them with the respect they deserve.

    Keep in mind that we are not better or superior, but just different.

    Practice the healthy habit of putting yourselves on other people’s shoes.

    Leaving I wanna tell a little story involving animals.
    In the morning I share my breakfast with a bunch of crows. Usually I toss them cookies or the cat’s leftovers.
    As I am doing that, the cat is observing the crows from the windows and gets jealous at them.

    Done! this is my little story.

    Thanks bye.

  3. Tania says:

    Dear Warren, thank you for your nice wishes for the New Year.
    We all need of peace, hope and joy.

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you and to your family.

    Best wishes,


  4. Tania says:

    I have seen on TV the launching of the new “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015 movie) at
    Los Angeles. Have you seen it?

  5. Dan says:

    Hi! Me again.

    IWas thinking that it can also be done online.

    With a donation.
    Signing a petition online
    Liking a video that supporting a good cause.
    Sending messages to people.
    Being polite while responding someone’s post or comment.


  6. Dan says:

    Hey, sorry but I keep having strokes of genius and I have to share with the rest of the world.

    Something important could be speaking up anytime we have the opportunity both in real life and online, against bad ideas.

    For instance, many of Warren’s examples involve spreading optimism around, right?.

    I often find myself arguing on the streets with certain people joining certain “religious” organizations that go around spreading pessimism.

    They are always like “everything is bad, nothing works, the end is near and bla bla bla”

    I stop and remind them that what they are doing is intellectually dishonest and wrong in many ways.

    I mean, we already have an endless economic stagnation on top of that you have these people spreading pessimism, that’s not good.

    They are not helping the situation.

    One other thing I do when I hear people complaining, I remind them that we in the west are lucky because we have our imperfect democracies, free speech, free press and so on.
    We have to protect these precious thing and try to spread those good values around the world.
    But, you know, as we have seen in Paris and San Bernardino, there are really bad ideologies out there that we have to fight in order to really have a better world for everyone.

    I think I am done, thanks! Happy Christmas/Holidays eveyone!

  7. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    It’s always to be good regardless the situation. About compliment, it has to be real not false. About your place in line, alow only one person to go ahead, only one. A nice piece of clothing for poor people is a good idea. Smile for everyone you see on the street. Help people every time you see them in trouble. And be happy.

  8. emiliano says:

    Warren, all what you said us above it is full of good ideas and I do think it is the best we can do to help us to feel
    just a little better on this Christmas but always along every day of our life.
    Which ever little or great thing we can do for other it reverst on us, just to feel something similar to happinest with
    the simple idea of giving some precious gift as nice words, a present, a thank you, or your first please.
    That could be enough or if it is possible some money or presen it would be great for people who has nearly nothing.

    Yes I agree with you dear.
    Have a good nice Christmas and be happy inside your own mind and heart.

    By my side, as I said some days ago, these are sad feasts, but I will do my best to have peace inside my mind.
    Dear Cuca is really very bad, but I have to give her my best smile and nice face every moment I am at her side.

    Possible in a short period of time it would be just impossible to have her at my side at home, so yes, I need
    to have a strong mind to accept this hard future time whe she could be in a residence of the old not healthy people.

    The same for every one of you friends of the blog, have a nice good Christmas despite these are really hard time for
    so many people.


  9. Joaquin says:

    2015 was a tough year, indeed. The current situation of the world is not encouraging and some events through the year were really sad. Hope we’ll have a 2016 full of peace and well-being.
    Cheers, and happy holidays for everyone who reads this. Hope you have a good day.

  10. peter says:

    Canucks staying put !:)))

    The loonie ,in other words , Canadian dollar has lost one third of its value and slumping.
    Christmases time is usually the time of the year that a noticeable number of Canadians pack they travel gears and head out to U.S sunbelt states.

    Well , this year the plunge in the loonie value has made them hesitate about foraying into US sun-dappling states. :)))

    The reason I m telling u this is that I myself was planning a short trip to Florida where one close friend of mine leave. However , with loonie hurting that much, I m having my doubts too.
    U know , if U must know , I m running on a tight budget here ,providing I m still a rookie around my work place, A junior if you will.
    And as u probably guess, I m not being paid top dollars.
    I was looking forward to the trip,though !!
    U know ,it bums me out !!
    It is the way it is.
    No use crying over spilled milk

    I should find some in-town entertaining -fun with my local friends.

    Man ,
    It sucks


  11. peter says:

    Unbelievable , there is nothing white about Christmas Day this year.

    The weather forecast reads” balmy” for that day.
    The temperature is supposed to rise to 13 and some reports boldly announced 19 for that day.

    It is never heard of

    I don’t know to rejoice or run for my life 🙂


  12. Parviz says:

    Hi everyone
    It feels so good to be here again.
    It may seem strange, but this thought hits my mind occasionally, too.
    As of this morning, I have been working in my office for four consecutive days.
    Last night few of my friends gave a visit to me as a random act of kindness.
    We had a great time together.
    We nothing special, except chatting and reminiscing the past, the way we took which made us end up where we are.
    This morning, I kept thinking about how happy I became of their visit. And it would be nice if I do the same.

    My visiting this website this morning is the reason of my thoughts.
    You know, I have been busy lately. Although I spend most of my time on internet and computer, I mistakenly neglect my friends, even those I know I can reach them online.
    I have all the amenity of online communication, even I have phone call capability on my computer. Yet I am all forgetful.
    You are adorable.
    good to hear you again.
    Take care

  13. Dan says:

    Hi Parviz.

    Hey Pete,

    I am expecting from you a Star Wars’ review.


  14. Dan says:

    Hey everyone.

    Let me help you out guys by having some laughs out from this 2015.
    Check out this YouTube channel called: Bad Lip Reading.

    Bye! Have fun.

  15. lili:) says:

    Thank you Dear Warren for sending us peace, hope and joy again this time of the year. I would like to give you and everyone on earth my sincerest wishes for peace, hope and joy as well.

    I really really like the picture in this blog post. It looks like a little girl writing “NO ACT OF KINDNESS, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, IS WASTED”.

    My most recent act of kindness was to give the plumber who came to repair my toilet a Christmas Surprise. I gave him a “Tesco Finest Panettone Cake 750G” and a “Terry’s Chocolate Orange Milk 175g” before he left. He was very very happy. It made me very very happy as well.

    I think I have been very busy doing many many acts of kindness in my life. I consider them as a duty given to me in exchange for my right to live on earth.

    Emiliano you are performing a very significant act of kindness to Cuca, and it’s definitely not wasted.

    Parviz your visit this morning is a random act of kindness to this ESLPODLAND. Thank you for coming!

    My apologise for not writing much recently. I do read everyone’s post and do enjoy all of them.

    I must go now, need to buy some Christmas presents for a friend and her family. They have been very very helpful to me and I never take it for granted.

    May I wish everyone here, my teachers and my co-learners, a very Happy Holiday and All the Best in the New Year in 2016!

    (Very sorry I have used very many ‘very’ above).

    Best Regards

    lili:) 🙂

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