I don’t know if you are aware of this, but shortly after the event in Newtown, CT last year, former NBC Today Show co-host made a recommendation to her Twitter followers. Her suggestion was to dedicate 26 random acts of kindness in honor of the 20 students and 6 teachers who lost their lives at the school where the shooting took place.
Countless people participated and many documented their acts in blogs and other social media outlets. It was really interesting to see the types of things that people did, leaving little notes behind saying that they were doing 26 acts of kindness honoring the Sandy Hook victims, along with gift cards, toll money, parking meter money, candy, kind words, baked goods, you name it.
Some people were really creative, and had obviously put a lot of thought into their acts. I was intrigued and I wanted to do it too. It was a great cause, and a great way to do a blog post-a-day challenge. I was ready to think up ideas to start the challenge, but I began having troubling thoughts. Not about doing the challenge itself, but about publicizing my acts. In a Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City) voiceover, I heard the question:
In a world of public displays via social media, should works of true charity be kept anonymous?
In other words, should we publicize our own good deeds? Is that counter-intuitive? If you want to do good deeds, should you do so with the expectation of accolades and the admiration of your social media peers?
True, there is something to be said for the power of social media inspiring good works in others. This whole campaign began with tweets. That being said, the old school part of me still says that true philanthropy needs no spotlight. Your work will speak for itself. So I encourage you to engage, in your own way, whatever your cause, in random acts of kindness. Any number, big or small, can impact someone’s life. You never know what that little bit of encouragement or that bus fare could mean to someone else. Most of us don’t think that we have the ability to have a positively impact someone else’s life, but we can. It can be as simple as paying the toll for the car behind you or leaving a treat of trinket for someone who could use a smile. If you are a recipient of a random act of kindness, please remember to pay it forward!