“How do we change the world? One random act of kindness at a time.” - Morgan Freeman
One year ago today, my family and I did something that impacted our lives in ways we couldn’t even have imagined.
Isolating together in the middle of what would be the first of several lockdowns, we decided to start the ’50 Days of Kindness’ Challenge to try to come up with tangible ways that we could spread kindness and help others in our community, at a critical & unprecedented time.
Through these daily challenges, we connected with incredible people, supported numerous charities and small businesses, and learned that random acts of kindness, such as giving a compliment, checking in on a friend or family member who was struggling or giving a shout out to a teacher or healthcare worker, not only made their day, it inspired them to pay it forward.
One year later, as we slowly emerge from the lockdowns and isolation and begin to imagine a brave new world on the other side of COVID-19, many of us are still reeling from the wreckage wrought by the pandemic’s aftershocks and the mental health effects that still linger.
This Challenge helps us keep things in perspective. It helps to remind us to be grateful for all that we have, for family, friends and good health. It reminds us that we each have an important role to play in each other's lives and in our community and that a simple act of kindness can, quite literally, turn someone's day around.
In our own words, here is what true kindness means to each of us.
Jadyn: “When I think of kindness, I think of a world full of colour, music and happiness, with everyone holding the door open for each other, with everyone saying ‘Hi’ to each other and checking in on one another. When I hear the word ‘kindness,’ I think of community. Kindness is the key to the kind of society I want to be a part of, and give back to.
Kindness is walking down the halls in school and feeling comfortable in your own skin, not having to worry about judgment. Kindness creates a world where everybody smiles at you.”
Favourite quote: “A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” - Amelia Earhart
Jules: “Kindness is when somebody helps another person, when someone pays a complement to another person, visits the sick, feeds the hungry, helps people who are less fortunate.
It’s also just being nice to somebody. If somebody needs help and you help them, that’s just being kind. If you see that one of your friends is sad and you ask if they’re ok, or how you can help… giving them a hug, or just letting them know that you’re there for them, that’s kindness.
You also have to be kind to yourself, telling yourself, ‘I’m safe, I’m free, I’m amazing, I’m the best person that I can be.’ Giving yourself a break, making yourself happy and not giving up.
Favourite quote: “No act of kindness no matter how small is ever wasted.” - Aesop
Matt: “Kindness to me means those who give of themselves for others, such as our veterans, many of whom have made incredible sacrifices. And I’m sincerely appreciative of their service.
“A key characteristic of kindness is empathy, and empathy shows up in many different ways personally and professionally. Personally we need to understand where people are coming from, not to expect too much and to roll with things during tough situations. Professionally, we’re all one team, we should work together towards a common goal and support each other as needed.
“A kind person thinks of others. They give of their time. They put others before themselves.”
Favourite quote: “Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.” - Mother Teresa
Heather: "For me, kindness is about going out of your way for someone, whether it's a person that you know or a total stranger. It's a smile, a nod or acknowledgement, a random act of giving that has great impact.
The kindest people I know never try to be kind - it's just who they are. On the flip side, we can all learn to be kinder, gentler, more mindful of what others are going through. So, today, we challenge YOU to smile at someone who needs a lift. Bonus - you'll get one too. :)
Favourite quote: "You cannot make everyone happy. You are not a taco." - Anonymous