With this upcoming election, the parties seem more divided than ever. We’re in dire need of better gun control and regulation. Fear and bigotry lingers behind every headline. And terrorism is cutting millions of lives short. In my second grade class, my teacher Holly White, would have us play a game called “K&G” which stood for “Kind and Gentle” person. Every Monday we would have to pick a piece of paper out of a hat that contained the name of one of our classmates. For the entire week, we had to secretly do kind things for the person we had chosen. Some people made bracelets and left them in the person’s cubby. Some people held the door for that person. Some left a piece of candy or an encouraging note on the person’s desk. And then at the end of the week, we would come back together in the same circle and try and guess who had picked our name. As I read the news every morning, I can’t help but feel like the world needs to play a big round of “K&G.” But if that’s not possible, here are some small ways you alone can bring some joy and kindness back into the world:
1. Compliment a stranger.
2. Leave a poem on the seat of the public transportation you take or in a café that you like to go to.
3. Text your friends and family members telling them how much you appreciate them.
4. Call your grandparents and ask them how their summer has been going.
5. Put some change in that tip jar— even if it’s just a nickel.
6. Look waiters and waitresses in the eye and say “thank you” when they bring your food.
7. Hold the door for the people behind you.
8. Help the woman struggling to carry her baby and a stroller up a flight of stairs.
9. Celebrate your friends and family member’s successes.
10. If someone disagrees with you, attempt to have a conversation instead of immediately getting defensive.
11. Be kind to yourself— eat, sleep & exercise.
12. Donate to the charity or cause of your choice (it’s as easy as going online).
13. Buy flowers and bring them back to wherever you live so that your roommate or family can enjoy them too.
14. Let someone off or on the train or bus before you.
15. When you feel the need to criticize someone, try and think about one of their positive characteristics instead.
16. Remind the people around you often what you love about them. Be specific.
18. Write a card for your friend’s birthday.
19. Show up— Attend events that your friends or family members put on.
20. Put your phone down and listen.
21. Like Obama said, “Don’t boo, vote!”