In a world full of hatred and fear, let’s take every opportunity to spread a little love and kindness. Spring, along with every other season, is a wonderful time to do Random Acts of Kindness (R.A.K.). Today I would like to share with you 10 R.A.K.s tailored to this season.
1. Leave sidewalk chalk messages
My neighbours did this just last week. We live in a university area and the students are all heading home for the summer. My neighbours wrote “goodbye” and “happy summer” messages to these students. They left the bucket of chalk out so that others walking by could also leave messages.
2. Clean up road-side litter
Somehow, people think that it is okay to litter in the winter time because the snow will hide their trash. But when the snow begins to melt away, the ditches start to look like a garbage dump. Old furniture, toilets, and many other large items can be found in the ditch once spring rolls around. Unfortunately not all of us are able to pick up the big stuff, but we can take time to gather the small trash like paper cups, beer bottles, and food wrappers.
3. Put flowers on a strangers grave
Many graves tend to go without flowers during the wintertime because it is just too difficult to trudge through the deep snow in the cemetery. Many people visit their loved ones’ graves in the spring (especially on Mother’s and Father’s Day). While taking flowers to your own families graves, why not take flowers to a grave that you notice doesn’t usually have flowers on it.
4. Volunteer to clean up a cemetery
We all know that when spring comes our yards sometimes look less than presentable. They can be covered with stray twigs or piles of leaves that blew into corners the previous fall. Even before the grass grows, it seems that weeds seem to sprout in the spring. A cemetery is no exception to this spring mess. This is an excellent time to volunteer to do some spring clean up. Many cemeteries have certain maintenance guidelines, so you might like to contact the caretaker for some advice. This could also be a great time to clean the tombstones, although extra care must be taken when doing this since many historic tombstones are very delicate. Read this article on Cleaning Gravestones for more information.
5. Help an elderly person clean up their yard
As I mentioned in the above point, spring can mean a messy yard. Why not help an elderly person with this task? Since spring is a lovely time to get outside anyway, why not take this opportunity to help someone else?
6. Send a special gift to your child’s teacher
Its the time of the year when everyone is feeling a little restless. The kids want to get outside and play. The teacher is ready for a holiday. In my own experience, I found spring to be the toughest time of the school year. Why not send a random gift to your child’s teacher as a way to encourage him/her?
7. Take fresh flowers to an elderly “shut-in”
Many elderly people are not able to get outside to enjoy the loveliness of the season. They would greatly appreciate a fresh bunch of tulips or daffodils that would help them celebrate spring.
8. Pay for an extra scoop of ice cream for the person in line behind you
In my area, many ice cream shops close for the winter. When they reopen in the spring, we all flock to their door (even if it is still pretty cold outside). As a gesture of kindness, pay for an extra scoop of ice cream for the person behind you. Try to do it quietly so they don’t know until the get to the cash, and you have already exited.
9. Volunteer to sweep the parking lot of a local church or not-for-profit organization’s office
While we appreciate the use of sand on icy parking lots during the winter, when the ice and snow melt, the sand remains behind. Many churches and organizations can’t afford to hire a truck with a sweeper. It is often the pastor or a staff member who volunteers their own time to this task. Why not make their day by offering to do it for them?
10. Buy summer toys at the dollar store and give out to your friends and neighbours kids.
This might include bubbles, skipping ropes, frisbees, and sidewalk chalk. You might try giving them to strangers, but just be careful about approaching a strange child when their parents/guardians are not in close proximity.
I got so excited about this topic that I couldn’t make myself stop at ten. So here is a bonus one!
Give your umbrella to someone who doesn’t have one.
This could be an extra one you carry with you for this purpose (you can buy them at the dollar store). Or, you can truly be sacrificial and give away your own to an elderly person or someone who needs it more than you.
Doing spring R.A.K.s can be a great yearly family tradition. I’d love to hear some of your favourite spring R.A.K.s.