Being a Catalyst of New Year Kindness in Your Community
At the start of 2014, we encouraged families to focus on resolving not to change or add to their lives, but to simply enjoy the good things in life. Rather than using the start of a new year as a time to focus on ways to fix perceived flaws in ourselves, it’s much more enjoyable to use the first of the year as a time to spark positivity and, after focusing on enjoying the good stuff in 2014, families can use the start of 2015 to spark a year of sharing kindness.
In addition to being a time for celebration, the holiday season brings with it a culture of kindness and generosity and, as the holidays come to a close, this culture is often stowed away or scaled back until the next year’s holidays come around. However, instead of letting kindness, generosity, and compassion be character traits that we reserve for only the most celebratory time of year, families can resolve to share kindness throughout the year – helping to remind themselves and others that being kind is necessary no matter the season.
Families can begin a kindness-filled 2015 by making a list of ways to share kindness with others throughout the year. A general list of kind things can come in handy when kids need a project, but a more targeted list can be instrumental in helping families stick to their goals as the year progresses. A good place to start is by creating a list of all those in your community who you’d like to share kindness with throughout the year. This list can include family members, friends, and neighbors, as well as less familiar (but equally important!) people like those staying in homeless shelters, visiting food pantries or soup kitchens, or struggling to overcome challenging life circumstances.
Once you’ve a solid list of folks to share kindness with, spend some time thinking about how exactly you’ll manage to share with them. Acts of kindness come in many different forms, and the way that kindness is shown can depend upon who it’s being shared with. Sharing kindness with a sibling might mean sharing encouraging words or compliments regularly, while sharing kindness with a neighbor in need might mean shoveling steps after a storm or bringing over a homemade dish to share. Kindness shared with animals could mean bringing bags of food to a local shelter, fostering a kitten, or putting up a house for birds or bats. Kindness to the planet could mean making a commitment to recycling or engaging in a local watershed clean-up.
No matter what activities kindness-sharing manifests itself in throughout 2015, your family (and many others) will certainly reap the benefits of such an altruistic new year’s resolution. Not only will you learn to love the satisfaction that comes from helping others, but you’ll find many meaningful opportunities for learning throughout the process of completing acts of kindness. Let 2015 be your kindest year yet!
[Photo credit: (cc) Jennifer]