Practice Random Kindness and Senseless Acts
Ideas from Michael Patterson, adapted from an e-mail to the Global Ideas Bank.
For more on the Random Kindness movement, see
www.globalideasbank.org/BOV/BV-82.HTML. Use the back key to return.
"Commit random kindnesses and senseless acts of beauty." I love
that bumper sticker. The following are a few ways I have acted on this. It is
best to let one's own creativity flow. These are some examples of what I've
done along these lines, to help guide the creativity of those just starting
- At public laundromats, when people left their clothes in the dryer and I
had to take them out for my own load, I would fold their clothes neatly.
- At my bus stop, when I am done brushing snow off my car, I also brush the
snow off at least one other car.
- Sometimes at work, people call me with problems. I always listen carefully.
I've had several tell me that I was the first person, of the twenty or so
they'd called, to actually listen to them.
- I used to take a roll of half-dollar coins and very lightly just bury them
in the sand at my daughter's school playground. When would you ever have the
chance to buy that much joy for someone so cheaply?
- I keep a stash of books on certain subjects, bought cheaply from a publisher's
remainder store. When I come across someone with a burning interest, a passion
that would be served by one of the books, I just give the book to them. When
my daughter's school was rebuilt, a library was added. The budget for books
was short, so they put out a call to the community. Over the following four
years, I donated over 500 books to that library that I'd gotten at library
sales. All of their ten or so atlases were donated by me.
- I went to a National Storytelling Association conference, and learned how
to do storytelling as a volunteer at area schools, and also present Stone
Age technology. The look on kids' faces is worth my time; kids in grocery
store parking lots wave at me, and my nephew's friends still remember the
time I did my presentation in their 4th grade class, five years ago. Everyone,
almost, in my town volunteers, so this is just my contribution.
- A church a couple of towns away was helping a number of recent immigrants.
I took over 22 old bicycles, in two loads. The first load was gone by the
time I got there with the second load. I also got furniture and clothes for
them, with the help of other members of my family.
- I found out that a committee was forming in town to create a small community
park. I shared my books on Japanese gardening with the woman doing the design.
We have a wonderful little park, with stone walls surrounding a sunken central
area, stone benches, areas for shady and sunny rock gardening ... and a walking
maze that I constructed out of river stone. Even before the plantings went
in, people were talking about doing weddings there. It is a gorgeous little
- I found out about a woman who was divorcing her husband, mainly for abuse
of alcohol and cocaine. That is a nasty combination. So I wrapped up a package
of nice things and sent it to her, anonymously, with a note of encouragement.
My sister did this for me when I was going through my divorce; it did a lot
for my morale. I think good works are best done in secret, anyway.
Once you crystallize the intention to commit random kindnesses and senseless
acts of beauty, somehow you start noticing opportunities. My mind frequently
brings up opportunities, in fact more than I can act on. Spontaneous fun, I
think of it as. Michael Patterson, POB 332, Granville, MA 01034-0332, USA (e-mail:
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