“The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.” – John Burroughs
I’ve been seeing something really cool happening lately: Random acts of kindness. Basically, people are randomly doing small things like buying someone’s coffee or leaving 5 bucks under someone’s windshield wiper. People have also done big things like pay off someone’s layaway for Christmas. All of these things are really cool and surely brightened somebody’s day.
You know how I found out about these things happening? Why, Facebook, of course! Here’s my contention: a random act of kindness loses a little something when you have to let everyone in your social media world know about it. I fully believe in the act itself, but I think announcing to the world how kind you are diminishes the act itself. It leaves me wondering, did you do something nice for someone because they needed it, or so your “kindness” could be validated through Facebook comments and retweets?
Here’s my proposal: make it a point to be kind always. Do things for people because they need help. When you do things for others, assume the validation of your action through your own satisfaction of doing the right thing. Teach your kids that this is simply the nature of things so that it just becomes something they do because it’s the right thing to do. Instead of taking to Facebook to show the world your kindness, simply feel good about the deed you’ve done and move on. If your intent is not self-glorification, but to spread the message and keep the “pay it forward” movement going, try this: tag someone on Facebook in a status update or tweet, and simply say “Your turn.” (Link to this post if you feel clarification is necessary.)
Obviously, doing good things for those in need is a good thing even if you tell everyone about it. The effect it has on the recipient is lasting. I am simply of the opinion that a true act of kindness isn’t one that needs to be heralded by others because the act itself is the true reward. We don’t need that validated by anyone but ourselves. Let’s be kind because it’s the right thing, not for the accolades we can receive on the back end.
Have an awesome Monday,