There are those who say that no act of kindness goes unpunished. These are very cynical people. Still, at times, it may seem that being kind goes unnoticed. As luck would have it, there is an annual celebration of kindness—Random Acts of Kindness Day—to remind us that it’s cool to be kind. So this February 17th, perform an act of kindness and show the world that being kind is the coolest thing you can do outside of wrestling a zombie shark-gator hybrid on the edge of an erupting volcano in the middle of a hailstorm while knitting an orphaned baby elephant a blanket as a yeti shoots arrows at you. So, you know, pretty cool. We were kind enough to offer up some inspiration below.
Random Acts of Kindness Day had somewhat modest beginnings. According to legend, in 1982, a woman in Sausalito named Anne Herbert took pen to placemat and wrote “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” Herbert eventually published a book titled—surprise!—Random Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty and from there, things took off. Individuals mobilized, groups organized, Kevin Spacey made Pay It Forward, foundations formed and before you could say “can I get the door for you?,” Random Acts of Kindness Day was born. The day has grown in popularity with acts of kindness being encouraged nationwide. And of course the best thing about random acts of kindness is that they can be practiced any day of the year, so even if you miss the February celebration, you’re still in good shape.
The milk of human kindness
Lady Macbeth had some wacky advice when it came to her husband, the worst of which was, well, all of it. But one notion was that hubs was “too full of the milk of human kindness” (kindness and compassion) to get to the top. Sadly, Macbeth gave in and plotted and murdered and did make it to the throne, but of course that ultimately didn’t go so well. Point is, don’t be like Macbeth (or his lady, for that matter.) Letting the kindness flow will work out better in the long run and will show the world that you’re not an overly ambitious creep.
So, not sure how to celebrate this year’s RAK day? Since “be kind, rewind,” isn’t really an option anymore, read on for some acts that are kind and totally not creepy.
Save the day with bacon
Work can be hard. And long. And stressful. Bringing in a nice treat to share with the team is a great way to improve morale and unite people, especially when that treat is bacon. The Bacon Crate, the best gift for bacon lovers, has bacon jerky, bacon popcorn, bacon peanut brittle and bacon love! This is most certainly the kindest thing you can do for your colleagues. And yourself.
Go to the dogs
Anyone who thinks adopting a rescue pup isn’t one of the best things you can do is probably a cat. And we all know cats are up to no good. (Just kidding, cats are great, too. Mostly.) Adopting a rescue is one of the most generous activities going. Taking a sweet little critter out of harm’s way obviously improves said critter’s life, but it also improves the adopter’s life—pets can be stress fighters, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels as well as fighting depression—doing a solid for both adoptee and adopter. It’s a win-win. Can’t provide a forever home? Try fostering, or simply bring extra food to an animal shelter.
Food is good food
Being a new kid on the block can be difficult at any age—there’s the touring schedule, the challenging dance moves, Marky Mark’s popularity looming over you. But even if you’re just the new person in the neighborhood, it can be difficult to make inroads with the locals. Be the kindness ambassador on the block and cook a meal for the person who just moved to town. The Pasta Craft Crate, one of the gluten-iest gifts for men, has the right stuff to set the stage for hangin’ tough with your new friends.
The kids are alright
Despite stories suggesting that “in my day, kids had it far rougher,” kids today are as much at risk as they ever were. Mentoring, tutoring or just providing general support can truly lead to changing a kid’s life for the better, and that’s a pretty awesome thing to do. Look into local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapters to see what you can do, or volunteer to tutor or read to kids at an after-school program.
Give a hoot, don’t pollute
And for that matter, don’t let other people pollute. When throwing something away on the street, pick up any litter around you and put that in the trash, too. Mother Earth will thank you. Not with a card or anything, obviously—Earth has no fingers to hold a pen and sign a card—but taking care of our big blue home will reap many rewards for years to come.
If you had a hammer...
…you could hammer all over this land, although it would probably be smart to do it in some kind of organized fashion, rogue hammering being frowned upon as it is. Habitat for Humanity offers volunteer build projects both great and small where you make a serious impact with your tools that can benefit your community, or communities around the globe. Once you’ve got the structure complete, the Whiskey and Woodworking Crate, curated by consummate man and Man Crates partner Nick Offerman and one of the handiest gifts for men, has tools to help you make some fine hand-crafted items for the interiors.
Respect your elders (or someone else’s)
Older family members, neighbors and acquaintances have offered sage wisdom over the years—work hard, keep an open mind, don’t poke at skunks. Indeed, heeding advice from older people is a great way to avoid certain pitfalls in life, so returning the favor by extending some kindness their way is the least you can do. Lend a hand around their house by taking out the trash or mowing their lawn or take some time to play a board game with them. Any small gesture can go a long way in making someone feel appreciated, you whippersnapper.
Get on up
Getting on a crowded bus or train might seem like the least rewarding thing you do all day. Inevitably, someone has a full coffee cup with no lid or a weird meal that doesn’t lend itself to being eaten in a jam-packed environment. You just want to sit and relax and forget the day. Seems the last thing you’d want to do is give up your seat, but that is one of the most generous things you can do, especially if there is an elderly or pregnant person being crushed by the sweaty crowd. They’ll be grateful, you’ll feel proud, someone else might see your act and replicate it later, and you’ll in fact be able to get out of that crazy scene that much faster.
Be kind to all of humanity with one single act—planting a tree. According to the Department of Agriculture, the net cooling effect of a healthy and young tree is that of 10 air conditioners pumping air for approximately 20 hours per day, and one acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide while producing four tons of oxygen. Impressive. And think of all the things you can do with a tree: you can dine under it, take a nap, do anything lazy—the possibilities are endless. And all you need is a shovel. Those lacking their own yard can volunteer with a local tree-planting group.
Flex your muscles
Sometimes being kind also requires being strong. Or at least stronger than someone who looks like they could use an assist. Ease someone else’s burden and simultaneously work the biceps by helping a stranger (or friend) struggling with grocery bags or heavy suitcases. You’ll get those bags where they need to go while showing the world that being generous and thoughtful is just as much of a sign of strength as is actual physical strength.