Healing with 26 Random Acts of Kindness

I know Newtown was on everyone's mind today as we went back to school.  It was hard not to think about as our day got underway routinely, just as theirs did on Friday.  Luckily, none of my students seemed to know anything about it.  I was very worried that one or two may know something about it and bring it up to those who did not, but it was a very normal day in our classroom.  Normal was what I needed.  Since I was home sick on Friday, I had been glued to the television watching the details unfold.  My husband was concerned with my "obsession" but it just hit so close to home for me, as a teacher.   

I know that there's nothing that we can do or say to take the pain away or truly help the survivors through this time.  It is going to be a slow healing process for them.  What we can do are small things.  Things where we live.  Things that may make a difference to someone, somehow.  Things to bring happiness to others who may need it more than we know.  So, for what it's worth, I'll be doing a Random Act of Kindness each day for the next 26 days (one in honor of each victim who lost their life in Newtown).  Just a small gesture....a small way to honor those precious lives that were lost, and a way, to hopefully touch more lives.  Who knows?  Maybe one will reach someone who needed a smile or a kind gesture at just that moment.

Here's my {tentative} RAK list for the next 26 days...

1. Pay the drive-thru bill for someone behind me at a fast-food restaurant or Starbucks, leaving a cheery message on a post-it for them instead
2. Leave bakery treats for the mailman
3. Take dog food, treats and toys to an animal rescue or shelter
4. Let someone go ahead of me in line (preferably someone with their hands full or an antsy toddler)
5. Let several cars pull out in busy holiday traffic (yep, bend my rule of only letting one out at a time)
6. Give my husband an unexpected massage
7. Write encouraging messages to random friends on social media
8. Give blessing bags and/or giftcards to homeless on street corners
9. Leave bakery treats or small giftcards for the garbage collectors
10. Smile at everyone throughout the day - track the number of smiles received back
11. Leave a big tip and note of thanks to a server at a favorite restaurant
12. Leave a random $5 bill and a note to "pay-it-forward" someone in an envelope at a random place
13. Donate clothes
14. Leave a joke to put a smile on someone's face with a note to "keep it going"
15. Put at least $20 in a red kettle
16. Hamburgers for the homeless - bring lunch to a homeless person
17. Send a surprise card telling someone how special they are
18. Put change in vending machines/laundromats
19. Leave my husband a random love note
20. Buy coffee for outside workers on a cold day (road construction crew, etc)
21. Write a thank-you note to someone who has made a difference in my life
22. Pass out compliments all day long
23. Leave an already-read book (w/a note) in a waiting room for someone else to enjoy
24. Leave a happy note & $5 giftcard on someone's car in a parking lot
25. Leave all the coins in my purse laying around town throughout the day (heads up, of course!)
26. Write a little "you're special" note to each of my students

Do you have other RAK ideas?  Are you interested in participating in 26 RAK for Newtown victims.  I would love to hear from you.  Let's work to make a difference in our communities.

I would also like to share this blog post in case you haven't seen it.

Thinking the Unthinkable

I read this on Saturday and woke up still thinking about it on Sunday.  How I feel for this mother.  We need to become active in changing laws  - it is unimaginable that there is no place for families to get help for these "troubled" children before crimes are committed.  As a teacher, I've seen these children.  I've taught a couple of these children in my 15 years in this profession, and frankly, that terrifies me....enough to try to make a change.

 Update {12/19/12}
I've received several comments and/or emails regarding this post with people saying that they would like to participate with their own 26 Random Acts of Kindness, so I'm updating this post as a way to link up a post of your own if you'd like to share your own list of 26 RAKs that you plan to complete.  Of course, these RAK lists are flexible.  I'm already thinking of doing some of the things that you all have suggested!  I especially love the idea of leaving a note and money in the cover of a book at a bookstore so that someone can buy the book on you!  I know that would make my day! ;)

I'd love you to link up below and share your lists, and of course, use the button above and share this post url so others can link up, too!


  1. Hi Amanda, I'm a new follower. I was drawn in by your 26 Random Acts of Kindness and I think it's a fabulous idea.

    Maybe you can add one more RAK by participating in the fundraising campaign I started this morning to raise money for the teachers at Sandy Hook. I'd love to have you check it out and see what you think! :)

    P.S. I teach in the Queen City so we're practically neighbors! ;)
    Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten

  2. Thank you for this post Amanda. I need to feel that I am helping in some way and so wherever you are carrying out your 26 RAK's I will also be doing the same, it is a wonderful idea. I have been glued to my TV all weekend and found myself looking in the closet of my classroom today and thinking that I could never hide all my kids in there if I had to, it's too small.

    I've taught these troubled kids too in my 20 years in the profession and they need help now, not when it's already too late. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Dear Amanda,

    I love your idea for the 26 random acts of kindness. I've been telling my husband that I don't know what to do, but I feel the need to do something. I've even thought about driving to Sandy Hook to pay respect. But I want to thank you for your idea.... because you've helped me figure out something that I can do. I will start my 26 RAKS today as a way to pay it forward. I've created a post about it on my blog, so maybe we can bring awareness to others who would like to join in. Thank you again.

    Owl Inspire You

  4. Thank you so much for the lovely thoughts. I'm a follower from the old Second Grade Teacher's Club.

    I read of this idea on another blog: leave a note and the money to buy a book (a children's book was what was suggested) inside the cover of a book at the local bookstore :)

    Also, my colleagues and I have been using an idea from Pinterest to "light up our school" all month. Here's the link: http://kindertastic.blogspot.com/2011/12/light-em-up-random-act-of-kindness-for.html

  5. I love your Random Acts of Kindness! Great ideas! This tragedy has hit home for me, too. I've just cried watching the news and reading stories about it. It is so tragic. My father-in-law asked me as a teacher if I can spot kids that are troubled and that I think might ever do something like that, and sadly, I said yes. You're right, there needs to be some help BEFORE they commit crimes.

  6. Thank you for your blog post! I was searching for excellent links for teachers/parents for 26 Acts of Random of Kindness. You have encouraged me to pass it on. http://bit.ly/VtGytK


Thanks for visiting my blog and sharing ideas! I love to read your comments. I like to reply back by email, so make sure you have that option enabled so we can chat! :)

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