Monday is the first day of International Random Acts of Kindness Week leading up to Valentine's Day and, I think, Galactic Niceness Week and Diabetes Awareness Month from all the sweetness.
Valpo kicked off RAK Week two weeks ago with a proclamation from Mayor Jon Costas in which he envisions "a city that recognizes kindness as the number one uniting factor that bonds all of us together as we progress boldly into the future of the community that we cherish."
If that doesn't put you in a sugar coma, here's a few suggestions for random acts of kindness from the RAK website to try during the week and, one would hope, the rest of your life. If you do, as the proclamation says, "our entire population may benefit not only from receiving them, but also from the giving."
- Donate used books to a library. Remember, these should be your own used books.
- Read to the elderly. I'm 66. Every time I read to myself, I'm reading to the elderly.
- Return a shopping cart. I try to do this whenever I can, but sometimes those little old ladies won't let got of it.
- Visit an animal shelter. I used to cover East Chicago city government. Does that count?
- Use less plastic. That settles it. I'm not getting those breast implants I've been wanting.
- Send flowers. I would, but the SOB refuses to die.
- Encourage someone. I did, but the SOB still refuses to die.
- Be a role model. Role model? I thought it said "roll" model, so I tried to look like the Pillsbury Doughboy.
- Give someone a hug. I'd love to, but there's that whole restraining order thing.
- Ride your bike to work. I'm not sure why this is a RAK suggestion unless, in my case, it would provide the local ambulance crews with a chance to test their new defibrillators.
- Plant a tree. I guess even tree hugging qualifies as a RAK. Sadly, I still have that restraining order problem here.
- Organize a carpool. I would, but my car can't swim.
- Share a snack. You are welcome to eat all my Brussels sprouts.
- Help someone with yard work. My neighbors seem to love doing their own yard work, so I help by letting my leaves blow onto their lawn. The joy on their faces is priceless.
- Make a new friend today. I have an imaginary friend, and I'm worried that if I make another one, they will hit it off and not need me any more.
- Write a letter to someone who made a difference in your life. Dear Santa, thanks for bringing the microscope I asked for so many years ago. It really came in handy when I went back to college after Christmas break.
- Make someone laugh. I hope I just accomplished that one for you today.
Keep spreading a little kindness. Randomly, of course.
The opinions are those of the writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (219) 548-4352.