26 Acts of Kindness
Certainly the idea of performing acts of kindness is not new. Many years old, the Hebrew word “mitzvah” means “a worthy deed.” In Ephesians 4:32 we are urged to “Be ye kind, one to another.” The Boy Scout motto, “Do a good turn daily” is nearly a hundred years old, and about twenty years ago, “Practice Random Acts of Kindness” proliferated on mugs, T-shirts, and bumper stickers.
But new, at least to me, was the idea of doing an act of kindness as a tribute to someone.Ann Curry, news journalist, asked herself what one could do to feel less helpless in the face of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Her answer: commit an act of kindness for each of the twenty children killed. When she tweeted this proposal, others quickly responded, “Make it 26, one for each life lost.” And so a movement, “26 Acts of Kindness” was born, and, as they say today, went viral. It is not necessary to tweet to participate in this movement. What is necessary is paying attention to those around us and doing a kindness with the intention of honoring the victims.But I say, do 26 acts of kindness and then start all over again, and again, and again. Make it a habit.
No grand gesture is required. Sometimes it will be as simple as a kind word or card or phone call or going out of your way to open a door for someone with a stroller or an armload of packages. Other times it will be a grand gesture like going with someone for a chemo treatment or providing respite for a caregiver. Certainly you will not run short of ideas . Already I’ve found that just by being alert to opportunities to do a kindness I feel different.
I am reminded of the 100th Monkey Effect There is the report that on Koshima, an island in northern Japan, in 1958, scientists dropped sweet potatoes on the beach for the monkeys. It appears that the monkeys liked the sweet potatoes but did not like having sand on them. The scientists observed that first one monkey washed the sand off the potato before eating it, and then another monkey did this. Then, over a period of time, by one or two or three, until maybe there were 99, all were washing off the potatoes. When the 100th monkey did this, a phenomenon occurred. By night almost all the monkeys on the island were washing off the potatoes, and the habit spread to other islands in the area, even though there was no physical contact. With the 100th monkey, they reached critical mass. Some describe it as group consciousness.
So the 100th Monkey Effect refers to the idea that “ a behavior spreads from one group to all related groups once a certain portion of the population has heard of the idea or learned the ability.” (Wikipedia )
It appears that the energy of the universe is changed. So I picture that as the idea of performing 26 acts of kindness has gone viral through social media, actually performing the acts will resound throughout the universe, resulting in a kinder world. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
© Dorothy C. Judd
Next Post: Monday, December 24.