"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."
This famous line from Charles Dickens was originally written to kick off his 1859 famous novel A Tale of Two Cities. But it's safe to say that it could also describe today.
On one hand, we’ve endured countless challenges recently within our world, nation, and communities. Yet we’ve also heard inspirational stories of people pitching in and lending a helping hand.
… The pop-up meal train to help a neighbor undergoing breast cancer treatment.
… The little girl down the street selling lemonade so she can donate to an animal rescue.
… The young executive who secretly leaves a bag of groceries at the feet of a sleeping homeless person.
Every day, people in our lives and communities go out of their way to show kindness to others. Paying it forward has a special way of brightening even the most defeated of spirits. And the best part is – it doesn’t have to break the bank.
Free and Easy Kindness Gestures
Showing kindness and compassion doesn’t have to be hard on your wallet. Here are some no-cost ways you can easily show goodwill to your neighbor:
- Share a smile with a stranger as you're passing them by.
- Give a friendly wave to another car passing you on the street.
- Offer to help your neighbors with their yard work. The next time you're out mowing, take a few extra minutes and scoot on over to mow their lawn as well.
- Offer to take meals to senior citizens or shut-ins.
- If you see some trash laying around, pick it up. Whether it's your local library, a nearby park, or the lobby of a local business, taking a few moments to tidy up helps make sure that others can enjoy the shared space as much as you do.
- Allow the person behind you to check out first in the grocery store line.
- Leave a positive review for a local business – they thrive on your feedback!
It doesn’t cost a thing to make a positive impact on others. And these little acts of kindness will brighten your day too!
Budget-Friendly Kindness Options
If you’d like to pay it forward but are short on cash, check out these low-cost ideas:
- Donate cans of food to a local organization.
- Pay for someone's coffee or breakfast and add a little something extra for the barista.
- Drop off some flowers or a small housewarming gift to your new neighbors.
- Send a friend or coworker an unexpected gift in the mail.
- Bring in a healthy, nourishing breakfast for your coworkers.
- Give a gift card to a single mom with young children.
Even a few dollars can go a long way in brightening someone’s day.
Homemade Ways to Show You Care
If you’re feeling extra crafty, try out one of these ideas to pay it forward:
- Share the bounty from your herb or vegetable garden with a friend or neighbor.
- Paint some rocks and leave them at a local park or on a walking trail.
- Bake some pet treats for your friend's fur baby.
- Create and send a care package to a veteran or someone in the military.
Plus, if you have kids, you could turn this into a fun family project! This is a great way to teach your children the value of giving without expecting anything in return.
How Can You Be Kind Today?
Being kind is what makes our community a wonderful place to live. It reminds us that we truly can live in a world full of generosity, kindness, and consideration.
So, make it a point to do something unexpected to someone you don't know sometime this week. Make it even better by getting others involved. Grab a friend, your partner, or your youngster, and go sprinkle kindness around together as you pay it forward!