Observed on February 17th, National Random Acts of Kindness Day has grown in popularity each year. It is celebrated by individuals, groups, and organizations nationwide to encourage acts of kindness.
I believe we can all agree random acts of kindness are always a good thing, but society could really use a few right about now. Let’s get to it!
The phrase “practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” was written by Anne Herbert on a placemat in Sausalito, California in 1982. It was based on the phrase “random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty”. Herbert’s book Random Acts of Kindness was published in February 1993 speaking about true stories of acts of kindness.
The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAK) was founded in 1995 in the USA. It is a nonprofit headquartered in Denver, Colorado.
However, launched in 2004, New Zealand was the first country in the world to have a Random Acts of Kindness Day!
New Zealand’s RAK Day started after co-founder Josh de Jong was stuck in Auckland traffic one typical afternoon and watched some irate drivers ahead of him getting into a bit of a road rage altercation. He began to think… ‘what would it be like if on one day everyone in New Zealand was kind to a stranger?’ Thus the national day was born and quickly spread around the world.
A simple online search of ‘random acts of kindness’ yields a return of thousands of related items, not the least of which is dozens of groups and organizations created to spread kindness.
The cynic in me could say how sad it is we need groups to motivate us to be kind to each other. But, my optimistic side applauds them for leading by example.
I hope the day is celebrated with millions of acts of random kindness, but I also hope we don’t wait for February 17th or some random group to recruit to us. It doesn’t take much to show kindness. Hate takes effort and forethought, and energy to sustain it. Kindness is natural when you treat others the way you wish to be treated.
A few ideas for random acts of kindness could include:
Showing kindness to someone else makes them AND you feel good – so enjoy your day…and feel good!
“A little less complaint and whining, and a little more dogged work and manly striving, would do us more credit than a thousand civil rights bills.”
“The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.”
“To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.”
Music plays a big part in my life, and no matter what I’m doing, there’s sure to be music playing close by on one device or another. From the home stereo to the laptop while I cook, clean or *gulps* do laundry; to earbuds in the mp3 player or cell while I write; to even earbuds in the Kindle while I read (yes, I’m one of those bizarre folks).
When I began the long, arduous, seemingly endless journey of writing In The Best Interest of the Child during NaNoWriMo last year, my playlist was a random selection of about 1600 songs. Slowly, as my characters became more defined and vocal, they would tell me what songs to play. (Stay with me here.)
I finished NaNoWriMo with a word count of nearly 60K, seven chapters, five defined characters…and a music playlist I would spend the next nine months listening. No, not consistently, but words just seemed to flow better when I played that particular playlist.
It wasn’t the playlist I’d initially envisioned. With the psychological focus of the story, and scenes of mental, emotional and physical trauma, I believed I would end up with something more haunting; more ethereal…spiritual, even.
Despite the obstacles, real or imagined, faced by our heroine…and subsequently, her eleven-year-old client, this group of pirates went straight for the romance. And, I mean pirates in the sense that MY characters plundered MY playlist, got it? There are no pirates in the story.
It’s like the characters I created in my mind were judging me – does that mean I was judging myself? – deciding their choices were superior to my own. I grudgingly admit they had a point.
Where I was leaning towards Billy Joel’s She’s Got A Way About Her, lead male, Bruce Bellamy preferred She Is by Ne-Yo and Tim McGraw, and Love, Look What You’ve Done To Me by Boz Scaggs. I wanted Streisand’s Woman in Love, but Olivia Chandler pouted until she got Faith Hill’s If I’m Not In Love With You.
Letting my characters have their way with the music playlist not only made writing their stories easier, the music became their story.
Confused? Don’t be. Their music choices show these characters are more focused on where they’re going, not where they’ve been. It’s my job to recount their journeys, under their watchful eyes, of course. They get to bask in their HEAs (happily ever afters). I have to move on to the next book.
Did In The Best Interest of the Child inspire the playlist, or did the playlist inspire the book? I would like to believe the former, but what do I know? My characters are the boss of me.
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“There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.”
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My name is Sam Chapman. I'm trying to make a living writing stories.
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