Another Valentine's Day has come and gone...with the chocolate wrappers and tiny cards to prove it. Did your family grow stronger, love harder, or become better as a result? I believe Valentine's Day (and holidays in general) are all about making love a verb. And I believe that we can do that on more than just one day each year. In fact, we set a goal as a family to make it happen. Every. Single. Week. It doesn't have to take an act of Congress, a special date on the calendar, a ton of money, planning or time. In fact, a little creativity and about 15 minutes ought to just about cover it.
Mother Theresa said, "There are no great things, only small things done with great love." Imagine the ripple if just a few handfuls of people made this same gesture. In addition to the benefits to the world at large, children who do such deeds receive so many benefits. In a study done by Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky, Professor, University of California, students who were asked to commit five random acts of kindness showed a 42% increase in happiness.
Patty O'Grady, PhD. is an expert in the area of neuroscience, emotional learning, and positive psychology. She believes that "kindness changes the brain by the experience of kindness. Children and adolescents do not learn kindness by only thinking about it and talking about it. Kindness is best learned by feeling it so that they can reproduce it."
We began the project by reading the "Starfish Story." You can read it here. Then we shared ideas for things we could do to make people smile. The list is endless....but here are 15 to get you started.
* Tape quarters to vending machines
* Leave a flower on a random windshield
* Bake cookies for a postman, garbage collection team, barista, bank teller,etc.
* Return a grocery cart for someone
* Write a compliment in sidewalk chalk or on a mirror with dry erase marker
* Smile at a stranger
* Pay for a meal for the car behind you in the drive thru
* Leave a love letter in a library book on the shelf
* Pick up litter
* Clean out a closet and donate coats and clothes as well as toys that are no longer used as well as towels and sheets (to the local pet shelter)
* Decorate a neighbor's mailbox
* Make and pass out some homeless care kits to your homeless neighbors
* Leave some coloring books and crayons in a local doctors office
* Tape some bags of microwave popcorn to the local Redbox Rental machine
* Buy and give a little treat to the cashier at your grovery store