40 Acts of Kindness

As Lent approached us this year, I found myself evaluating where I stood in relation to this tradition. I rarely celebrate Lent; it’s something that my mother never placed very much importance on, and because of that, I didn’t either. The only times I have come close to participating in Lenten practices was in elementary school. One event that comes to mind specifically took place when I was in second grade. My teacher gave each student in my class a “40 Days of Good Deeds” Lenten calendar, and asked us to be mindful of our actions for the next few weeks. It was the first time someone had advocated Lent to me.

This memory has been on my mind ever since my roommate Katie described to me what her plan for Lent was. I had no intention of doing anything for Lent, but after talking to her about her motives for celebrating Lent, I was inspired to take action. Katie decided to stray from the Lenten norm of “giving up” a passing pleasure or bad habit by doing the opposite – adding value to her life.  With my roommate and second grade teacher’s initiatives in mind, I decided that I would set a pace for kindness during Lent. Each day, I would complete a random act of kindness.

Here are a few kind acts that I have already done:

– Give someone a hug
– Write a kind note for someone
– Reach out to someone I haven’t talked to in a while
– Donate to the Salvation Army
– Make a playlist of my favourite songs for a friend
– Leave quarters in Renison’s laundromat
– Leave coins in a vending machine
– Buy someone a coffee
– Tell my parents I appreciate them
– Leave a jar of Nutella in Renison’s cafeteria
– Give a lottery ticket to someone

These tiny acts have acquainted me with the world outside my immediate self. It has allowed me to look beyond my own perspective, and motivated me to make an effort in trying to understand the people around me and how I could make them happier. Although I do not always get recognition for my kind act, I never really mind because just the act itself bring me joy. It brightens my mood each day, and helps me to stay in touch with my spirituality.  I feel as though I am feeding and nourishing my soul. Because of this positive effect, I am contemplating implementing a “one good deed a day” rule in my life. I want to implement the virtues that I have been focusing on these past few days into my everyday life: optimism, generosity, kindness, and altruism. I hope that when Lent ends, my initiative to complete random acts of kindness becomes a routine that I can maintain for the rest of my life.

Madzia McCutcheon

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