Tuesday, November 1, 2011

{ spreading sunshine - DOING more GOOD }

I read a blog post about a month ago, and it was truly one of the most inspiring things I have read in a long time.  It's a beautiful, tearjerking account of a woman who decided to celebrate her 38th birthday by committing to performing 38 "random acts of kindness" on one day.  I started pondering the idea of kindness quite a lot.  Here in our home, we talk A LOT about kindness.  "Do the kind thing" and "please use kind words" are phrases that are often repeated by my husband and myself when talking with our children.  That's all well and good, I suppose. But I got to thinking about how what we really need is less talk and more action when it comes to kindness.  In other words, we need our acts of kindness to be less random.  We need our kind acts, good deeds, or spreading sunshine, as we like to call it, to be more of a habit, a way of life.   Blogging and spending time in 'blogland' is a lot of fun for me, and it's definitely enjoyable to make lists of pretty things to buy, to drool over images of lustworthy interiors and pretty parties, and to dwell on the gazillion of crafty projects I'd love to make.  But all of that can feel much too frivolous and self-focused at times.  I want my children to learn the importance of doing good for others, but I realize I'm not exactly setting the best example for them right now.  So I'm beyond excited to start our journey as we actively strive to spread some more sunshine into the world.  It makes other people happy, it makes us happy, and let's face it...it just makes the world a better place!
Won't you help us change the world by spreading some sunshine too?

I don't think you have to plan any sort of grand gesture to spread a little sunshine.  Something as simple as a smile or some words of encouragement are enough to impact someone's day in a positive way.

Okay, so here's the bit of sunshine that we spread recently:

The man in front of us at the grocery store was $2.48 short to pay his bill.  He was asking the cashier to deduct a box of cereal from his total, when Jack handed him $3.  He smiled and said thank you.  Jack smiled too and said, "You're welcome! Now you can buy your cereal!" 

My neighbor knocked on our door the evening before Halloween.  She asked if we had a black bowtie that she could borrow for her costume (she was dressing as Lady Gaga the next day).  She told us about how she drove all over town looking in store after store for a black bow tie, but had no luck. My husband said she was welcome to borrow one of his straight ties, but that he didn't have a black bowtie for her to borrow.  She looked bummed.  I was in my pajamas on the couch, and feeling a bit sorry for myself after a rough week, when I realized I could pretty easily whip up a glue-gunned version of a black bowtie  for her with some black ribbon I had.  I just didn't want to be bothered with it though.  But then I remembered our little vow to spread some more sunshine, and I thought about how I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want my children to believe that spreading sunshine is just about doing so when it's convenient for you.  I told her I would make one for her and pop it into her mailbox for the next morning.  I did just that,  and she was really appreciative.  I felt so happy to help her with her costume dilemma :)

I've gathered up a few places to find inspiration and ideas for sunshine spreading. 


I can't wait to hear about your rays of sunshine! :)


Laura said...

Rachel, this is a great reminder, and offers motivation to more deliberately teach kindness to my kids. You talk about a rough week, and feeling down. We've all been there. I find that taking the focus off of myself and doing something for someone else is like hitting a reset button. It may not erase the bad week, but it can chart a course for the kind a week you'd like to have :)

Thanks for this great post! I'm going to spread some sunshine today :)

SherryQ said...

Perfectly perfect - we have been talking about this too! We are planning some "cookies and cheers" drops between Thanksgiving and Christmas - I'll let you know how it goes!

And, Rachel - you are a HUGE creative inspiration and I feel incredibly fortunate to know you!!! XO XO

Jessie said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog today and reading my way to long post. lol It made me smile. :)

Rachel {polkadots and puppies} said...

Laura- you offer great advice, as always. Taking the focus off of ourselves and putting it onto others works wonders for me as well.

Sherry Q- you are too sweet! And back atcha!

Jessie- my pleasure! Hope things start looking up for you.

Can't wait to hear about everyone's sunshine spreading :)

Poppies and Poetry said...

LOVE this post Rachel! That same post inspired me as well to come up with something for my family. I'm cooking up something for this month! Happy Sunshine Spreading! You do lots with just your blog:)

Lisa said...

I love this! Tim and I are volunteering at a food bank on Thanksgiving. Give a little, get a lot!!!