“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Martin Luther King.
More than 50 years after his death, Martin Luther King Jr. continues to influence us. Known for spreading the word of peace and kindness for all, he inspires people to challenge themselves, their kids, and their grandkids to spread kindness and pay it forward. One of my favorite activities when I was still teaching was to share this MLK quote: “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” After discussion, I gave each of my students a small amount of cash and challenged them to see how big of an impact they could make with it.
One student, an animal lover, bought dog food. She and her mom dropped it off at the Baraboo animal shelter. It grew into her volunteering there. Another student bought a gift and brought it over to an elderly neighbor. The visit grew into a relationship; one that brought happiness to both the child and the lonely neighbor.
Random acts of kindness can involve money, but they don’t need to. I have a friend who donated 12 inches of her lovely hair to an organization that provides wigs for kids with cancer.
Below is a sampling of other opportunities to spread kindness.
Specific to the Dells area
- Join a service club such as Kiwanis (contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details) or Rotary ((608) 254-9338)
- Volunteer with The Happy Kids Network Team at the The Market, located in the Wisconsin Dells High School. Contact them at email@example.com.
- Donate cash or products or organize a food drive or toiletries drive to benefit Happy Kids Network and The Market.
- Compliment someone
- Leave a treat for the mailman
- Buy a coffee or a gift card for the person behind you in line
- Make baked goods for your neighbors
- Donate to St. Vincent’s de Paul. (Check their hours first.)
- Leave a 50% or more tip
- Pay for a stranger’s meal
- Open the door for someone
- Offer to shovel for your neighbor
- Send a handwritten thank-you letter to a doctor, nurse, or teacher who has gone above and beyond
- Let someone go before you in line
- Buy groceries for a family in need
- Send a heartfelt card to someone who might need a lift
- Pay the adoption fee for a rescue animal
- Donate books to the library
- Walk a neighbor’s dog
- Present someone with a bouquet
- Treat your family to a day with no complaining
- Call a friend and ask how they’re doing
- Offer to pick up groceries
- Double a recipe and share
- Return someone’s cart for them at the store
- Tuck dollar bills at random spots at stores such as Dollar Tree.
- Smile at someone
We make a positive impact on our community and the world through our connections to others. Those connections might be as simple as extending a smile or a kind word. Martin Luther King said that although we face difficulties of today and tomorrow, he still had a dream. Here’s hoping that in the coming days and weeks, we can spread kindness and help his dream come true.