Random acts of kindness: Make helping others your New Year’s resolution

Eagle Young Marines staging a display of toys being donated to less-fortunate children through Toys For Tots. (Credit: US Marine Corps)

Eagle Young Marines staging a display of toys being donated to less-fortunate children through Toys For Tots. (Credit: US Marine Corps)

It’s time to make New Year’s resolutions. What will be on your list this year? What about random acts of kindness? The holiday season is a time for helping others. It’s when we ask for peace on earth and goodwill toward men. Why not make it a point to keep that sentiment going all year long? Think about the benefits of kindness. First of all, there’s that good feeling you get. That’s just the beginning.

New Year’s resolutions

The beginning of the year is when we look to the future with a fresh view and resolve to do better. Looking back on our performance over the past year, it’s typical to opt for resolutions like:

  • losing weight
  • working out more
  • getting better grades
  • paying off debts

How about adding acts of kindness to the list? If you’re looking for inspiration, just check out recent stories in the news.

In a December 30, 2013, post for Consumerist.com titled, “Starbucks Pay-It-Forward Chain Continues For 1,468 Customers,” Laura Northrup described an incredible act of kindness.

Customers at a Starbucks in Newington, CT, paid for the customers behind them in a chain of generosity that lasted for the three days surrounding Christmas.

“What kept the chain going was a sort of rolling fund that extra ‘donations’ were added to, and that baristas used when someone rolled up to the window with no one behind them,” Northrup explained.

Secret Santa

In another story, a man played Santa for a little girl when he found a balloon that she had released with her Christmas letter to the jolly elf attached. The balloon was one of 23 that were released by students at Saint Rose of Lima School in Chula Vista, CA.

On his way home from work, Terry Hardin found the balloon and the note from a 5-year-old girl named Joie whose Christmas wish was for a mermaid doll. In a twist reminiscent of O’Henry, Hardin’s late mother was also named Joie.

In a December 27, 2013, article for YahooNews titled, “Good Samaritan Finds Little Girl’s Lost Letter to Santa, Fulfills Wish,” Henry Baker described what happened next.

“So Hardin and his wife went to work by combing through Facebook and contacting local media organizations to assist in finding little Joie. The search concluded at Mrs. Garay’s kindergarten class,” Baker said.

Hardin and Joie met and the gift was delivered. It was a moment that brought Hardin a sense of joy and peace with his late mother.

Acts of kindness in 2013

Other acts of kindness that occurred in 2013 were recounted in a December 27, 2013, post for ABCLocal.Go.com titled, “Random Acts of Kindness That Made The World A Better Place in 2013.”

The list of kind acts included a police officer who bought groceries for a woman who he caught taking food that she couldn’t pay for and an anonymous donation of $40 and a thank you note left on the windshield of a woman whose husband is serving in Afghanistan.

What can you do?

What are random acts of kindness that you can do? Suggestions can be found at RandomActsofKindness.org and include:

  • leave an inspirational note on a car, bulletin board or wherever
  • donate your hair to a foundation that makes wigs for cancer patients
  • when you have an extra coupon, leave it behind for the next person to use
  • give someone a hug

Acts of kindness are easy to do and they don’t have to cost you a dime. The more you practice kindness, the better you’ll feel.

The benefits of kindness

You’re never too young to learn the value of kindness. Once you commit to practicing kindness you’ll find great rewards.

In their article for the July-August 2013 issue of Childhood Education titled, “Connecting Children to Kindness: Encouraging a Culture of Empathy,” authors Marie L. Masterson and Katherine C. Kersey explored the value of fostering kindness and empathy in stemming acts of violence.

According to Masterson and Kersey, “Empathy helps them become more sensitive and responsive, enjoy closer friendships, and cooperate with others to solve problems […] These abilities contribute to healthy social relationships and school success […].”

New Year’s resolutions tend to be all about ourselves. Maybe it’s time to think about doing good for others too. What do you have to lose?

What New Year’s resolution can you add to the list of acts of kindness? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Read more about social issues related to children, prejudice and human rights on Questia.

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