Paying it forward means being kind to others without expecting anything back in return.
I researched ways to pay it forward, to find lists of ideas and compare my deeds to those suggestions.
I hold the door open for people, donate clothes to goodwill, recycle, and sometimes let people cut in line in front of me at the store or in traffic. I admit sometimes. This past year I did volunteer at the MS Walk in September. I enjoyed that.
I have to admit, a few of the acts of kindness made me cringe, "Oh, I couldn't do that!" Where did that attitude come from? I should embrace some of those as a challenge. Things like buying stuff specifically to donate; pet food, clothes, food. Food is the easiest. It is the cheapest! Man, I'm a tight-wad.
My goal is to not only consider ways to Be Kind everyday, but to DO something outside of my comfort zone to intentionally help others.
Moreover, I need to teach my students and my own children to be kind. After some more research, I saw that there wasn't a singular list I liked for teaching children, so I made my own.
- Smile at someone who seems to be having a rough day
- Carry books for someone on crutches
- Compliment someone, tell them they played a great game, painted a nice picture, or wore great shoes
- Hold the door for someone behind you
- Take found items to Lost and Found, even money.
In the Community:
- Put shopping carts back in the cart corral
- Bake and take cookies to local fire and police stations with thank you cards
- Hold a Teddy Bear and Friends drive and donate to police and fire stations. If they have a kid in distress, they would love to have a stuffed animal to give them!
- Take cards, Valentine's, or notes to local nursing homes
- Donate clothes, toys, to daycares, charity, or to a family whose house burned down.
- Donate items to the local humane shelter, maybe even volunteer there or foster a pet
- Give cookies and thank yous to your local postal workers
- Pay for someone's drink or toll behind you from a coin jar you and your kids save change in
- Allow a person with a few items in line in front of you
- Shop with your child for canned goods that you then donate together to the local food bank
- Teach your children how to greet strangers. "Hello" and a smile from a sweetie might make their day.
- Encourage them, if old enough, to use freerice.com. It donates rice to hungry people while your child learns new things.
- Live in a tourist trap? Offer to take photos for people and families struggling to get into a selfie.
- Put coupons you don't need on community bulletin boards. Share coupons for restaurants with others in the restaurant that you don't use.
- Take found items to Lost and Found. It is not always 'Finders Keepers'.
- Many churches do wonderful things to help others. Find out what your church is doing and jump in!
- LISTEN! Listen to your kids without trying to fix anything, without adding to their stories, without trying to change the subject. They will learn to listen to their friends and others without judging, too.
- Pick up litter in a local park, along your street, or in an open space nearby regularly. Recycle cans.
- If you don't recycle, do. Kids can help separate and take bags of items to the recycling center, or out to the curb.
- Donate books you no longer read. Schools, libraries, paperback exchanges, and other places like jails or prisons will take books. Call first, though. Find out what programs your town has. There are also some online.
- Donate old towels to the humane shelter
- Leave inspiring notes for each other. (or love notes)
- Mow the neighbor's lawn
- Put out bird feeders or fresh bird baths in winter.
For More Ideas:
My Pinterest Be Kind Board
For Teachers and Schools
Rants From Mommyland: Kids Can Volunteer - These are divided by age groups
109 Acts of Kindness you can start doing today