When our Nonprofit Management professor asked if any one had any nonprofit news to share last week, I informed my classmates that February 14 – 20 was the annual Random Acts of Kindness Week in the hopes of getting my peers’ do-gooder inspirational juices flowing.
“Random acts of kindness just this week?” Our professor cheekily replied, and I smirked. No, I explained, Acts of Kindness — of the random or planned variety – should be done every week.
Though making an “event” out of kindness may help us focus on it for a time, I believe we can train ourselves to become kinder creatures year-round. I don’t think it requires big acts of heroism or sacrifice. At the risk of sounding pseudo-zen (yes, I just made up that word), I think it really just takes careful reflection, listening, and watching.
Of course, becoming kinder — letting it saturate your mindset and become a part of a natural instinct — I think that’s something that takes practice. Every one is human and flawed and an act of kindness is a way of sort of forgiving others for those flaws. I think having a “keen kindness instinct” is akin to having a high sense of awareness of what is going on around you, in a way, and in a practical sense may help lower our individual risk of succumbing to the Bystander Effect. I theorize we can further develop our 24/7 kindness instincts by practicing some simple ways to connect to others, even if indirectly: