Out of the mouths of babes… Leave it to a group of children (Kids for Peace) to come up with this incredible, life-affirming, peace-spreading, goodness-sharing idea.
For one day — August 8, 2009 — children around the world are invited to perform simple, yet important, little acts of kindness. Their goal this year is to have one million children participate in the Great Kindness Challenge.
Now of course, we should all be practicing kindness every day, and we really shouldn’t need a special day to remind us of this. Of course, we shouldn’t need a special day to remind us to conserve energy, either. But the fact remains: in both cases, it’s something that in today’s self-centered, fast-paced, competitive world, many people do need these reminders.
Many children today are not highly exposed to the idea of acting selflessly, of helping others with no gain or reward for oneself. They learn that you study in order to get good grades and get a good job — not for the sake of pure learning. They perform volunteer service for high school credit or to look good on a resume. “What’s in it for me?” could be the catchphrase of this generation.
It’s often far too easy — and I’m not just talking about the children here — to simply assume that someone else will feed the hungry, heal the sick, care for the elderly… I’m just too busy, you know? Besides, I’m just one person, what can I really do to make a difference anyway?
This Challenge reminds us that we don’t have to do grand, heroic near-miracles. A little act can make a big difference. And by dedicating a day to thinking about this, for an entire day making it your number one priority, we might just kickstart a new way of thinking, a new habit, a new approach to how we can help other people and our planet.
We can get involved in this Challenge as individuals, but they are also inviting children’s groups (church groups, schools, clubs, etc) to make an event out of it. A group can accomplish an even bigger “little kindness”, such as collecting for a local food bank or cleaning up a park.
For groups and individuals short on ideas, they even offer a checklist of 50 acts of kindness to choose from. These range from “paint a picture and give it to someone” and “thank a bus driver“, to “call your grandma or grandpa” and “do a household chore without being asked.” Even “smile at 25 people” is on the list. I also like “hang a happy poster in your neighbourhood” and “leave a flower on someone’s doorstep.”
Imagine doing just some of these little acts for a day… how happy would you feel by the end of the day? I know I’m going to get my kids involved with this.
I couldn’t help but notice the Kids for Peace Pledge:
I pledge to use my words to speak in a kind way.
I pledge to help others as I go throughout my day.
I pledge to care for our earth with my healing heart and hands.
I pledge to respect people in each and every land.
I pledge to join together as we unite the big and small.
I pledge to do my part to create peace for one and all.
If more of us followed that pledge, what a difference would that make to our world? What an inspiring group of children.
[This post was written by Heather Dunham]