MILFORD, PA – February 11, 2013 – February 11 through 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Week. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation says on their website “At the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, we believe people should practice kindness every day, but during RAK Week, we hope you will go above and beyond to make others feel special.”
The Pike County Public Library asks all its members to not only observe this week but to do so “in memory of the 20 innocent children and 6 heroic adults who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School, please join Pike County Public Library in participating in Random Acts of Kindness week.”
Ellen Schaffner, Director of the Pike County Public Library, said that the idea came from her Assistant Director, Linda Krafinski. The idea of linking it in honor of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy came from a news report. “Right after that tragedy, NBC reporter Ann Curry had suggested that people do acts of kindness in memory of each person killed at the school, so the concept was based on that idea, not whether or not this type of tragedy could be avoided by acts of kindness.”
They offer a few suggestions to get you started on the right line of thinking for the week. “Forgive, invite, be grateful, volunteer, thank your parents, make a new friend, encourage someone , shovel snow for your neighbor, share your smile generously, give a compliment, buy someone a cup of coffee.”
(Author's note – The Random Act of Kindness Foundation is an international entity and the Pike County Public Library has no affiliation with the group.)
Many Americans do this as a matter of course, but often amidst the stress and strains of the day, it can be forgotten. The purpose of an organized effort and recognized awareness week is to remind everyone that a simple act of kindness can forestall some serious tragedies. One can never know the effect and impact on another human being simply by genuinely smiling or sharing or offering help without thought of self.
As to whether this could have stopped the Sandy Hook incident is a question better left for scholars and philosophers. But whether or not it can help a community, such as those scattered throughout Pike County, gets a resounding “definitely yes” from Schaffner.
“Doing something good for someone else,” explains the library director. “Can have a positive impact on both the recipient and the giver of the act of kindness.”
The idea, as some may say, is not a socialistic or communistic or liberal idea. It is an American idea. In the long history of Europe, centuries of looking out for yourself corrupted the idea of doing good for others just because you can. Then, over 400 years ago, with the first successful settlement at Jamestown, VA, the very necessity of helping your neighbors was forged into the foundation of American idealism. In the early days of this country, people looking out for people was not simply an idealistic approach, it was the core of survival of the whole community. And in the early days of the United States of America, neighbors looked after the families, properties and businesses of those sent to represent them in the newly formed government. And those elected officials knew and understood this kindness, keeping them committed to fully representing their interests.
For more information on this week, activities and other “kindness ideas”, visit the foundation's website at http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/.