How to Be Intentional with Acts of Kindness
There are lots of opinions swirling around in the year 2020. What we could use more of is kindness. Kindness is defined as the quality of being “friendly, generous, and considerate”.
Remember the last time someone showed you a random act of kindness -- let you merge onto the highway easily, paid for your coffee ahead of you in a drive-thru line, or gave you a nice compliment. It probably made your day and gave you more faith in humanity! Random acts of kindness can have a profound impact, though they may seem small -- they can actually bring people together and make the world a better place, in general.
World Kindness Day
As it turns out, there’s an entire day devoted to this idea that kindness has a way of bringing people together and making the world better. World Kindness Day began in 1998 and is celebrated around the world on November 13. It’s more popular in some countries than others, but when you think about it, this is a holiday the US could probably stand to recognize with a little more enthusiasm. Especially with all the stress and anxiety the pandemic has brought on, in addition to the heated political climate of 2020.
World Kindness Day is a day to reflect on just how impactful being kind can be. It’s a day that encourages us to think about how we can bring kindness to those around us throughout each day, both to those we know as well as don’t know.
Intentionality & Kindness
What does it mean to be “intentional” with acts of kindness? Quite simply, it means to make an effort to bring the love and peace of Christ to someone’s day by a very deliberate action. Being intentional with acts of kindness ties in directly with the work of Knots of Grace -- that is, to make little reminders of faith visible throughout each day. Doing something simple but kind for someone else, even someone you may not know, may seem like a tiny, inconsequential act. But it actually is a way to love others as Christ calls us to love.
Here are a few random acts of kindness you can incorporate into your day.
- Hold the door for someone.
- Offer a random compliment to someone you encounter during the day, whether you know them or not.
- Let someone know you’re praying for them if you know they’re going through a hard time.
- Let the person behind you in line go first.
- While waiting in a drive-thru line, pay for the person behind you in line.
- Send flowers to a nursing home.
- Send a friendly text to someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile.
- Reach out to a family member who may be lonely or stressed.
- Offer to take a friend out for coffee.
- Offer to take your parents out for coffee or lunch.
- Let someone go before you in the check-out line.
- Mow your neighbors lawn without saying anything.
- Tip your waiter/waitress double.
- Do a household chore that your spouse/other family member hates to do.
- Send a gift card to your priest or parish office staff.
- Pray a rosary for someone who is sick.
- Send a handwritten thank you note to someone who has helped you.
- Bake something special for your family and surprise them.
Knots of Grace has these Pocket Hugs in stock, for sale individually or in bundles of ten. Find them here!
The kindness of the saints can inspire us.
If we’re in need of inspiration, all we need to do is turn to the saints to see how we can be kind to others. The saints are recognized by the Church for their heroic holiness and courage in faith. But many of them also exhibited the type of kindness that changes lives and makes the love of Jesus real to other people.
For example, perhaps not-so-coincidentally, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini’s feast day is on November 13, the same day as World Kindness Day. Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini was a young Italian Catholic woman who became a missionary with the religious order she founded, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
After she founded the order, she was sent to New York in the 1880s, where she served Italian immigrants. She organized education and catechesis for Italian immigrants, and ended up founding dozens of schools and orphanages across the country. She brought kindness and peace to areas of the community that were often depressed and poverty-stricken, and made Christ’s love real and present. For that she was canonized in 1946 and is now the patron saint of immigrants and hospital administrators
How will you be kind to someone today?
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, we can also connect being thankful to being kind. Being kind also is an outpouring of gratitude. When we realize the many blessings in our own lives and thank God for them, in turn we will want to share that with those around us.
So here’s the question: how will you be kind to someone today? Whether it’s holding the door, paying for someone’s coffee, or giving them one of our little Pocket Hugs, you can be assured that small, random acts of kindness are more than enough to make someone’s day, and make the world a better place.
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