It’s Me!!

If you get one of these with a coffee, it’s from me.Why? Because I can.

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Pay It Forward

Some time ago I posted a wee article entitles “ROAK” which stand for Random Acts Of Kindness. Along the same lines is this post which extends and encourages the habit of carrying out Random Acts Of Kindness- thanks to Marc and Angel at ‘Marc and Angel Hack Life’

“Selflessness is the sincere concern for the well being of others. It’s about love. It’s about compassion. It’s about kindness and faith. It’s about making a difference in the world. Sure, you are only one, but you are one. You cannot do everything, but you can do something. Smile and enjoy the fact that you have the ability to make a difference – one you’ll likely remember forever.

So go ahead and make the words, “How can I help?” part of your everyday vocabulary. Start today; choose one of these 60 selfless ways to pay it forward.

  1. Hold the door open for the person behind you.
  2. Introduce yourself. Make new colleagues, classmates, etc. feel welcome.
  3. Clean out all your old clothes and donate them to someone in need. Your old is someone else’s new.
  4. Write a positive Yelp review about a local business you like.
  5. Listen intently to people’s stories without trying to fix everything.
  6. Donate blood. One pint of blood can save up to three lives. Locate your nearest blood drive.
  7. Volunteer at a hospital, homeless shelter, nursing home, etc. Get outside of yourself and help others. Check out Volunteer Match.
  8. Buy house warming gifts for new neighbors.
  9. Inspireothersonline.
  10. Share your umbrella with a stranger on a rainy day.
  11. Check up on someone who looks lonely.
  12. Let someone with only a few items cut you in line at the grocery store.
  13. Spread good news.
  14. Replace what you’ve used. For example, fill up the copier or printer with paper after you’re done using it or start a fresh batch of coffee.
  15. Give words of encouragement to someone about their dreams, no matter how big or small they are.
  16. Stop and buy a drink from a kid’s lemonade stand.
  17. Help someone get your parking space in a crowded parking lot when you’re leaving.
  18. Babysit for couples or single parents who don’t get out much so they can have some alone time.
  19. Look for ways to save a few extra bucks a month and then donate it to a good cause or charity.
  20. Shop at your local charity thrift store. The money you spend there helps others.
  21. Help someone get active. There’s a coworker or acquaintance in your life who wants to get healthy, but needs a helping hand. Offer to go walking or running together or join a gym together. Check out your local Active activities.
  22. Spend a few clicks of your time at Free Rice.
  23. If someone you love really likes something (a meal, a favor, etc.) give it to them when they least expect it.
  24. Make a difference in the life of a child. Give them your time and undivided attention. Read Raising Kids Who Will Make a Difference.
  25. If you shop online, make your purchase through Give Back America.
  26. Pay for the person in line behind you.
  27. Drop off your old eye glasses at your local LensCrafters as a donation to the OneSight program.
  28. Create a care package and send it to an active duty military unit.
  29. Redirect gifts. Instead of having people give you birthday and holiday gifts, ask them to donate gifts or money to a good cause.
  30. The next time you see someone pulled over with a flat tire, or in need of assistance, stop and ask how you can help. Read How to Be an Everyday Philanthropist.
  31. Become a mentor or tutor to someone in need.
  32. Help the weary shopper in front of you who needs that extra two or three cents to avoid breaking a 20-dollar bill.
  33. Come to the rescue. If you realize someone is sick, bring them some hot tea, soup, etc.
  34. Be a courteous driver. Let people merge in front of you.
  35. Put some change in an expired parking meter (where its legal).
  36. Offer your seat to someone when there aren’t any left.
  37. Listen to someone’s pain and help them find a path through it.
  38. Hug a friend. Let them know how important they are.
  39. Think twice before you throw something away. As Jack Johnson once said, “Reduce, reuse, and recycle.”
  40. Help an entrepreneur with a Kiva donation.
  41. Bake cookies or brownies and share with a neighbor or colleagues.
  42. If you have a good book you’ve read that’s just sitting around on a book shelf, give it away to a friend.
  43. Become a member of Freecycle, and participate.
  44. Clean up litter in a park or open space nearby.
  45. Look into co-housing.
  46. Borrow and lend things in your neighborhood by using Share Some Sugar.
  47. Send a nice email or handwritten card to someone you know, unexpectedly.
  48. Leave encouraging post-it notes in library books and other random places.
  49. If you see a couple taking a self-pic, offer to take the picture for them.
  50. Setup a donation box at your school, work or place of worship and ask others to make canned/dried food contributions. Then deliver the donations accordingly.
  51. Join efforts to preserve and protect the environment.
  52. Donate cat and dog food to an animal shelter. Call and ask what is needed.
  53. Compliment someone who deserves it.
  54. If there’s been an accident or a potentially hazardous situation presents itself on the road, report it to the local authorities. Your phone call could save a life.
  55. Collect and donate prom dresses for underprivileged youth. Check out the Princess Project.
  56. When you’re getting fast food, buy an extra meal for a homeless person.
  57. Stand up for someone. Lend your voice. Often the powerless, the homeless, the neglected in our world need someone to speak up for them.
  58. Take the time to teach someone a skill you know.
  59. Teach others how to make a difference in this world by setting a good example every day. Read 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life.
  60. When someone wants to repay you for something, ask them to pay it forward. “

Thanks, again Marc and Angel. This is a great list and anybody living by these guidelines can only make this world a better place.

RAOK

RAOKRandom Acts Of Kindness. There is a quite delightful TV ad (bit of an oxymoron, that, eh!?) on at the moment that features a much-tattooed busker playing guitar and doing a nice wee rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. That’s nice enough but the delightful bit is when a woman rats through her handbag for parking meter change but comes up empty, and the busker signals for her to take meter money from his collection plate (hat). Great!

This sort of ‘act of kindness’ is not entirely uncommon in New Zealand- fortunately they happen often and we are the richer for it. One hears stories all the time of people ‘doing the right thing’ without expectation of reciprocation. Why? Because they can. People who do such things are thoughtful, sensitive, generous people who have the milk of human kindness coursing through their veins. They don’t have ulterior motives, they don’t expect recognition, they probably don’t even expect the same to happen to them (and in the cock-eyed world we live in, they probably won’t ever be on the receiving end of such random actsI hope, though, that one day they will be.)

I recall a few years ago a coffee bar running a ‘campaign’ of ‘pay it forward’ whereby you paid for a coffee which would be given to the next person who ordered one. Unfortunately (sort of) I wasn’t the ‘next’ order (that’s not what is was about) but it was nice to pay for two in the knowledge that someone would get a nice surprise when they ordered their beverage (which is what it WAS about).

There were also a couple of instances during the recent Rugby World Cup- an overseas couple were travelling to Napier to watch their national side play, were delayed by break-down or accident (I don’t recall) and thus missed the game but a generous Hawkes Bay motelier not only hosted the visitors’ ‘overstay’ for nothing, he also gave them his tickets for the next game. I don’t suggest that this level of generosity should be the norm, but isn’t it wonderful that someone who could, did?

I doubt that people who do such things think all that much about consequences much beyond cheering someone up and creating ‘feel-good’ moments for the lucky recipients because generally most random acts of kindness remain anonymous. Being known as a generous and kind person is not as important as being a generous and kind person.

I am happy to say I do wee things reasonably often. The things I do aren’t all that impressive, rather they are little things just like the busker donating a dollar to the lady’s problem. There are often times when the recipient isn’t aware of who has left the treat in their pigeon-hole, or who wrote the anonymous email (thanks to the anonymity of Yahoo and Gmail!!) that brings a cheery message of congratulation or celebration of a job well done, or who finds their next beer or coffee paid for. Such acts cost almost nothing but the feel-good results I get are probably as good as those the recipient feels, so I’ll keep doing them.

Thought about doing them yourself? Hope so.

World Wide Whanau

A couple of years ago a member of my whanau went on a bit of a pilgrimage to the Middle East to sort of retrace his father’s war-time exploits and to pay homage to our and other NZers forebears who had made the ‘ultimate sacrifice’. One of these was my namesake, my father’s brother Norman Murray (no, I’m not called ‘Norman’) who died in the defence of Maleme Airfield in Crete, 20th MAY, 1941, and lies at rest in the Souda Bay Allied Cemetery.

Souda Bay Allied Cemetery, Crete.

While on the island my cousin left an entry in a visitors’ book, and not one to use few words when many can do just as well, he left a decent amount of information. Probably thinking no more about the visitors book he continued his hikoi and ultimately returned home tired but well satisfied with his efforts.

Some months later I received from him a group email in which he let the family know about a Polish couple who had been holidaying in Crete, had read the visitors’ book entry, were intrigued and had contacted him. They intended returning for another holiday to Crete in the not too distant future and very generously inquired as to whether they could take anything to Souda Bay to Uncle Murray’s grave for him.

I thought this ‘random offer of kindness’ was at least worthy of a reply and so I did with a general introduction of myself, my relationship to the author of the visitors’ book entry, and a sincere thanks that they should make such a generous offer. I included a message and a family photo. In a very short time I got a reply from Malgo and Roman, a Polish couple who live in Lodz, letting me know that they would, indeed take my message and print the photo that I had sent in digital format and place it on the grave of our uncle.

I subsequently received another email from Poland with photos attached of Uncle Murray’s gravesite with our family photo and I have to admit there was a lump in the throat and a tear in the eye as I read the kind message and opened the attachments.

What wonderful people Malgo and Roman are- total strangers thousands of kilometres across the World who read an obscure entry in a visitors’ book and offered to carry wishes and objects for no other reason than that they are wonderful people. I am happy to say we have developed our relationship through the convenience of email, have exchanged gifts and family details, and I am now delighted to consider Malgo and Roman good friends.

I am looking forward to my daughter visiting them in Poland as part of her OE some time later this year, and am quite jealous of the welcome I know she will get from this delightful couple. Who knows, one day we may even shake each other’s hands! (…although I  think I would prefer a kiss from Malgo- after all she is part of my World Wide Whanau!)

What a better place this world would be if a lot more people had the same friendly, unselfish and helpful attitude of the Grzybowskis of Lodz, Poland.