I’m having one of those “Look what I found!” moments. In simpler times, when I didn’t have to bend over so far to reach the ground, I would have them often. I’d spy the tiniest corner of a buried treasure and spend the next 10 minutes frantically excavating before tearing into the house to show my mother what I’d uncovered.
I marvel now at my kindergarten son’s ability to spot a ladybug on the underside of a leaf 20 yards away. When did my enthusiasm for celebrating life’s little pearls disappear?
Maybe it hasn’t. I found something online that is giving me the same jolt of pleasure that I experienced as a kid. And it’s free! It’s called a Random Acts of Kindness Generator.
Basically, you click on a category that sparks your interest: work, strangers, kids or friends/family, and then just like a Magic 8 Ball, it tells you what sort of act of kindness you should do. If you’re disappointed with the suggestion, and you click it again, it will kick out another idea for you. If you’re a person who wants all of your options laid out at once, you can do that, too.
As for me, I like clicking that little button and seeing what happens. I’m not much of a gambler, but it feels a lot like playing the slots in Vegas. C’mon, triple strawberries! Winner! Speaking of strawberries, the site is www.berries.com/blog. It was created by the people who own Shari’s Berries, a company that makes chocolate-covered deliciousness. I wasn’t really understanding why a big ol’ company would care to spend the time and money to spread the message of kindness, so I asked them.
Julissa Arangure, community outreach with Shari’s Berries, explained it to me like this: “We mainly encourage people to find reasons to celebrate life — whether it be a holiday, a special occasion or simply a good day!
“Since most of our products are meant to be sent to people to brighten up their day, we figured we could go beyond just gift giving and spread other ideas that would support and inspire others to make people smile. Of course, chocolate always helps, too!”
People often ask me for kindness ideas for things like 40th birthdays or celebrating a 25th anniversary, and now I feel like I have some fresh suggestions. Let me share a few of my new favorites with you now.
• Hide inspirational messages on sticky notes around the office.
• Leave a funny on the whiteboard in the conference room.
• Send your boss an email about a co-worker’s hard work.
• Put a quarter in an expired meter.
• Leave an inspirational note in a library book.
• Email an inspiring journalist or blogger to thank them for making a difference. (I especially liked this one!)
• Make a video to cheer someone up.
• Bring coloring books and crayons to a family shelter.
• Bake something and share with a group.
• Hide a love note in someone’s purse or pocket.
• Baby-sit for free.
• Make someone a playlist.
I encourage you to check out the online Kindness Generator for yourself. Maybe you, too, will be bubbling over with eagerness to tell a friend, “Look what I found!”
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her column runs every Saturday. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.