I've got to tell you, RAK is fairly common in our home. Well, I mean, we encourage it and we chat about it occasionally, and more importantly we take a dose of Nike and just do it. If someone's parking metre has expired we grab a coin and fix it. But most people would do that. Wouldn't they? One of the children's books I have written is called My Happy Gift which is about Random Acts of Kindness. Through the eyes of a child we watch one boy do something completely random for a member of his family and watch the flow on effect as each recipient naturally pays it forward until it sweeps through a community in a day to return back to him. RAK is something I recommend to my clients in order to help tweak them from the glass half empty to the glass half full mindset. RAKs are a great positive energy activator for both the giver and the receiver.
Anyway, this is getting boring so I'll get on with it. It's not supposed to be a lecture.
On the weekend Derek headed off to the Trash and Treasure stalls in hunt for some comics to sell on E Bay and he came home with a book called "Pay it Forward" which he said was "right up my alley". Yes, it is right up my alley. It's about a young boy who (as a class project) gives up his time and money to help others in his community but rather than asking them to pay him back, he asks them to pay it forward to someone else. His formula is that if everyone was challenged to randomly help three people in some small way, and they in turn randomly helped another three people each in some small way, and so on, the result would change the world.
So here I am reading "Pay it Forward" and reading a new RAK post on Glass Half Full and doing my positive energy visualisation dance in the hope that the publishing dog will soon publish My Happy Gift and it seemed that all this focus on RAK meant I needed to take the bull by the horns - or the kindness by it's random - and bloody well just write about it.
So here are some random acts that may be a little different than the standard RAK:
Act (1): As Derek and I enjoyed our second honeymoon in Hawaii last year we realised that not everyone was enjoying the peace, quiet and togetherness that we were, so we offered our room keys to another couple for a few hours to escape the four kids they were sharing their room with. We not only offered them our keys but also to babysit their family by the pool for a few hours.
Act (2): Recently I was exiting a city car park complex when I noticed two ladies arguing about money and the need to pay for two sets of parking with only $5. It seems that one lady (the aunty) had given her $5 parking money to the toddler to carry in his pocket (the nephew) and he'd lost it. The other lady (the mother) was explaining how ridiculous it was to expect a toddler to be responsible for the cash. Anyway, Mum and toddler were late for appointment so had to pay for their parking and go, while aunty was going to have to head back inside and go to an ATM especially to get parking money out. Of course I fronted up and paid for her ticket. But that is not why I remember this act, it was because the aunty looked me in the eye and said "thank you so much, I'll be sure to pay it forward".
Act (3): I often drive about, or am out walking, and notice piles of rubbish. It always upsets me. Hey, I grew up in the age of the "Keep Australia Beautiful" ad campaigns. It's ingrained in my soul. But I don't always do anything about it other than to tsk tsk tsk. If there is a bin nearby, sure, but if I have to carry it about with me? No. So I was out driving the other day when I drove past a whole bunch of food wrappers dotted across a 10 metre nature strip. I did the usual tsk tsk tsk but this time I did a U turn and went back, stopped and picked it all up. I put it in our home bin when I returned home.
Act (4): I took a cafe bought coffee to my beautician as I fronted up to my appointment yesterday. Well, I figured as the owner/beautician she probably never gets to step outside her shopfront. She offered to take the cost off my fee. No. That was not the point. Don't pay me back, this is a gift, you deserve a nice cuppa. Besides, you give me lovely eyebrows!
(5): Derek whipped up to the corner store quickly to grab some milk. He was busy. It was a quick trip. He was concerned for an old lady who was walking very slowly out of the store with her walking frame and a carton of milk. Did she need some help? No, she was just tired from the walk to the store. Where had she walked from? A few blocks. Would she like a lift home? Yes please, only she couldn't remember where she lived. So Derek took her under his wing and spent about half an hour driving slowly along until she recognised her home. He forgot about the need for a quick trip to assist a lady where life was anything but quick. He got her to the front door and he spoke to the neighbours to explain his concern. They said they would keep an eye on her.
I know, I know. There is nothing particularly wonderful about any of these RAKs. They are every day things, and most people do them. Particularly for the people they care about. But what makes a random act a RANDOM act is that the randomness takes affect because you are doing it for relative strangers. People you don't know (or don't know well). People you may never see again. People who don't expect anything from you.
I have to say I am cringing as I am writing about it because (a) it sounds a little "look at me, look at me" like I am bragging or something. I don't think we should brag about RAKs. It takes the kindness away. And (b) they're not particularly big RAKs. I could be doing more. I can do more. I will do more.
Anyway, that's all. I felt that random acts of kindness deserved a mention because the concept has been hitting me square between the eyes at every turn this week. And because Kakka issued a challenge. I love a good challenge ... And because sometimes we all need to be reminded that simply by "going out of your way" occasionally you can make a difference to the lives of many.
It's yoga Tuesday - I'm off to do some yoga and contemplate the whole paying it forward concept some more ...