September 15, 2016

National Thank You Day

So, I'm not sure when all of these national days came about - I mean we apparently have national pancake day, among others - and I'm not sure who came up with them (though I have a pessimistic theory that it's often to promote consumerism) - and I'm not even sure who all celebrates them (I mean, good luck hearing about each and every one in advance)... but today is National Thank You Day. A day for gratitude and for being thankful for those in your life. While I'm not going to use this as an excuse to purchase a bunch of thank you notes from Walmart (after all, National Thank You Note Day is the December 26th, go figure), I have no qualms with celebrating those close to me... and even those who aren't, celebrating service men and women who do work I could never do, celebrating farmers who put food on our tables, celebrating social activists who help our society progress - I raise my glass to all of you!

How I'd like to spend this blog post is by discussing ideas for a little something I call Random Acts of Kindness. If you've been under a rock, RAK are about leading a self-less life with a philosophy in kindness. I like to believe my friend Trent followed that philosophy, and as I've discussed when talking about losing him, I'd like to live life a little bit more like him, touching as many people as possible.
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So as I was saying, fulfilling a random act of kindness means taking an action to help out and/or do something kind for another person, perhaps someone you know nothing about, and not expecting anything in return, instead hoping this person will pay it forward and take part in a world where we care about our neighbors. Now that's a life worth living, isn't it? I think the most basic, well-known example is paying for the coffee of the person in line behind you. You can, of course, go much deeper and complete far more meaningful tasks - mow the lawn of an elderly neighbor (or the one of someone whose mower was stolen, hint hint???). You might leave kind notes for people to find in public reminding them how special they are, or send a letter to a veteran. You might sign up for some volunteer work (something I've always wanted to do consistently but have difficulty doing so with my ever-changing schedule).

I'm actually really proud of my town because, if you've heard of Free Little Libraries (which are a fantastic concept), one of our very own came up with the concept of Free Little Pantries, making food donations as easy as walking a few non-perishables out of your pantry and down the street. I'm honestly proud of my town on many different levels because it's a leader in kindness and acceptance, especially for our beloved state of Arkansas, where kindness is abundant but not always shared with those who think a little bit differently.

The Random Acts of Kindness official website has a lot of great ideas, and over time I've come across many more ideas online (especially through Pinterest). I wanted to ask you to think about acts you could complete - what RAK can you commit to trying? Let's make a pact to shake up the balance here on earth during our brief stay. If you need any convincing, know that the secret to happiness is in helping others. Are you in?

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