Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Friday, January 4, 2013

Acts of Kindness - week 1

As I mentioned in a previous post, I intend to try to commit one act of kindness every day in 2013 and at least one more significant act each week.

Furthermore, I've stated that a standard act may be nothing greater than allowing someone to go ahead of me in line or holding a door open for someone else but the weekly more substantial act must require more effort and/or preparation.  I'll just have to judge these myself, I suppose, though I'll allow you all to cry "foul" if you think I didn't really meet my goal.

So! The first week of the year has passed.*  Let's see how I did!

January 1, 2013: Donation to Shenandoah Area Secular Humanists to help fund a replacement display for the one that was vandalized.
             Background story:  A nativity scene is set up in front of the courthouse in Warren County, Virginia every year.  I'm not sure how long they have done this but for the last seven years there has also been a display placed next to the creche from the Shenandoah Area Secular Humanists. Their display includes a quote from John F Kennedy about the separation of church and state, a greeting from the society and this statement: "With reason and compassion as our guide, let us work together to produce a world in which peace, prosperity, freedom, and happiness are shared by all."  All in all, it seems to be a fairly noncontroversial display.
             [Note: When someone challenges a religious display on public property, the local government has a choice to either remove the display or to allow other groups to place their own display along with the original.  Either way, no preference to any particular religion or any religion at all is shown and it is not considered a violation of the separation of church and state.  It is likely that this is why the secular display is  placed next to the nativity scene every year in this location.]
              Someone must have disagreed with the placement of the secular display as it was vandalized this year - spray painted and then burned.  The group stated that they will replace the signs next year and that the original signs cost them around $300.  Obviously, they will cost more now to replace than they did seven years ago.  I decided that I would like to help with the costs of this replacement so I went to their website and donated a small amount to the cause.  I hope that others will do the same so that they are able to replace the signs.

January 2, 2013: Sent an anonymous thank you note to our receptionist at work.
                 The receptionist here at the company often will go out of her way to make our jobs easier here at the company where I work and I wanted her to know that we appreciate all she does.  I was sneaky enough to take an interoffice envelope from another area of the plant (so she wouldn't know it came from our particular office area ) and to place the envelope in the outgoing mail slot in yet another area of the plant for the same reason.  I'm sure she won't recognize my handwriting as I printed the note and I rarely print anything here at work.  I hope that it made her smile!

January 3, 2013:  Placed advertising papers that were down on the sidewalk up on porches so people could see them
                  We get a free local advertising paper delivered to our houses every week.  They are supposed to be placed on our porches or stoops but sometimes the boys or girls delivering them get lazy and miss the porch.  As I was walking home from work today, I noticed quite a few of these on the sidewalks in front of the porches.  I know from experience that I would sometimes look out and not see the paper unless I stepped down off the porch so I stopped to place these papers up on the porches so people could see them when they opened their doors.

January 4, 2013: Helped a co-worker unjam the copier
                   Technically I do this sort of thing all the time. I'm in the same room as the copier and I guess this means people think I know more than they do about it.  I don't - especially since we got a new one - but I do know how to read and follow instructions so I manage. Still, I'm going to count this as a good deed as I didn't have to stop working to help him.
                 
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Administrative stuff:
I remembered seeing little cards once that one could hand out when doing an act of kindness to encourage the receiver to pass on the kindness to someone else so I looked around the internet.  I found this site where you can order cards for free. (they are paid for by donations) Their cards are alright but not exactly what I had in mind as I really didn't get the idea from their website and the design is a bit plain. From what I read on the site, it doesn't seem like they would mind if someone "stole" their idea or wording so I decided to make up my own cards!

So!  I ordered my cards (mini-cards, actually) from Moo.com. (<--This is a referral link. If you use this link you can get 10% off your order if you order from Moo and I get a credit on my account. I get no credit for your clicking my link, however.  I just wanted to be up front about it.)

The cards look like this:
The print on the green side reads:
Smile!
Someone reached out to you with an act of kindness.
Now it's your turn to do the same!

Do something nice for someone, leave this card behind, 
and keep the spirit going!

I can't wait to get my cards so I can hand them out!  I wish I had thought of this before the beginning of the year.  Oh, well.  I should have them by mid-month so it isn't a big deal.

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If you have any suggestions for acts of kindness, please leave them in the comments or email me by clicking the "contact" button on the side of my page.  If you feel I've not hit my goals let me know as well!  Thanks!

*I'm going to make a post every Friday to tell of my efforts throughout the week. This means I'll actually have 53 weekly entries instead of 52 as I'm not starting off documenting an entire week and that will leave 4 days at the end of the year. I've decided this doesn't matter so I'll continue on as if I didn't notice.  So!  "week" 1 it is!**

**I'm the only person you know who is anal enough to worry about this, aren't I?



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