"The United States Congress has passed legislation proclaiming February 17 as Random Acts of Kindness Day. It seems a shame that we need legislation to remind us to reach out with kindness. This day, however, can encourage generosity. Celebrate by having a dinner party ask each of your children to invite one friend and his family. Or better yet, a child and family they'd like to get to know.
"Come up with your own list of everyday opportunities to show kindness and share the list with your child. He may be inspired to create his own. Some ideas to get you started:
1: "When you make soup, double the recipe and share with your neighbor.
2: "Bring the bus driver a morning muffin.
3: "Compliment a stranger.
4: "Return shopping carts to the store.
5: "Buy dog bones for your neighbor's dog.
6: "Drive a neighbor without a car to the market.
7: "Buy a subscription to your favorite magazine for a friend.
8: "Hold the door of the train or bus for the person behind you.
9: "Say hello to a stranger without expecting a response.
10: "Pass on to someone else an article or a book that really touched you.
11: "Write a note of appreciation to your mail carrier or your child's teacher.
12: "Help someone find something he has lost.
13: "Give up your place in line at the grocery store to the person with just one item.
14: "Pass on information you receive in the mail for things or events that you think another person might be able to use, instead of throwing them away.
15: "Recycle magazines to the local library.
16: "Put a chocolate under someone's pillow.
17: "When visiting in a hospital, spend a few minutes with someone who has no visitors.
18: "Write a note of encouragement to someone who has just received sad news.
"Acknowledge when your child acts in a generous and kind way. Encourage and validate compassion for others. The idea of being either winners or losers is prevalent in our society, but people commonly forget who is the real authority on winners. Remind your children that God sees winners, and purposes, where humans do not. Talk about winning and what it means. What winners do you know?
"Remember that if we see God in one another we will cherish and respect one another. How can we not do so? There can be no room for prejudice, animosity, and hate in the person who is God's child. Children seem to understand this concept easily, while adults struggle with it. Maybe your child can teach you this one."