It was late one night when I got an email from the states. It was my friend John who, as usual, had an idea. This one was about the power of connectedness. John was taken with the notion that he could, by sitting at his computer, with only a few small movements of his fingers, could affect change on the other side of the world. “In ten seconds,” he wrote, “I sent an email to my friend in Boston, asking him to go down to the street and give a watermelon to the first person he saw. And he did.” John, of course, wanted to illustrate the power of connectivity with a more compassionate experiment. “Please go find a needy person and give them $20 [1,000 Indian rupees, at the time]. If you can, try to see how it changes their life and let me know.” On our last afternoon in Ahmedabad, ... Read Full Story >>
Heather asks, "A friend mentioned to me that research shows that a certain number of acts of kindess a week "sticks"--creates the positive habit. Do you know of this, or similar, research?" So we thought we'd compile some useful resources for Heather and the rest of you, thanks to our friends at DailyGood. Altruism: a Neural Kick from Within: What motivates people to act anonymously kind? Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland, wanted to find exactly that -- the neural basis for unselfish acts. So they decided to peek into the brains of 19 volunteers who were choosing whether to give money to charity, or keep it for themselves. They found that the part of the brain that was active when a person donated happened to be the brain's reward center -- the mesolimbic pathway -- responsible for doling out the ... Read Full Story >>
The Dallas Morning News reported a heartwarming story today, for all of us sports fans: A homeless man who goes by Doc was cashing in change at a Cinemark Theatre in Dallas when a guy walked up and offered to pay his way into the movie. He planned to spend his day passing out fliers and accepted a rain check before realizing that he recognized the generous gentleman. "Was that Tony Romo?" Doc asked the worker behind the counter. It sure was. Doc, who requested that his real name not be used, hustled across the street to the consignment store that paid him to occasionally pass out fliers and requested the day off. By the time he got back to the theater, Role Model had already started. Romo, who confirmed the story but didn't want to elaborate, waved Doc over to sit by him and his friend. Doc sheepishly mentioned that he hadn't showered ... Read Full Story >>
This article has been taken offline by the request of Trustee of the Heinlein Prize Trust regarding infringement of a copyright.
A North Carolina family with an epileptic child was given a touching gift on Friday when an anonymous stranger paid for their dinner at a restaurant, leaving them a note that is, not surprisingly, going viral online. The note read: "God only gives special children to special people." The message was delivered to Ashley England and her family, including her 8-year-old son, Riley, at the Stag-N-Doe pizza restaurant in China Grove, N.C., on Friday by a waitress. "I'll try to do this without crying," the waitress told the family, according to WBTV.com. "But another customer has paid for your bill tonight and wanted me to give you this note." England said Riley, who is nonverbal, gets frustrated because he can't speak, and he had been especially rowdy during the meal. "He threw the phone and started screaming," England told WBTV. "The past few weeks have been very hard and trying for us, especially with public ... Read Full Story >>
A prayer wheel, or mani wheel, is a wheel filled with innumerable mantras and inscriptions wrapped clockwise around a central axis. Some prayer wheels are tiny, like tops; others are huge, filling an entire room, and one turns the wheel by holding its handles and walking clockwise around it. Others are attached to running streams or waterfalls so that they can harness the natural energy and spread benedictions throughout the land. The faithful believe that spinning these prayer wheels or hanging prayer flags in the wind actualizes the inscribed prayers. The Tibetan province of Kham is akin to America’s Wild West. The people of Kham are great equestrians, and like all who ride regularly, they love their horses. Until about a century ago, Kham was carved into dozens of smaller kingdoms, each of which had its own army, raised by forcible conscription. There was once an old man in far eastern Kham ... Read Full Story >>
Here are some quotations archived from the weekly newsletters on this site: "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do." --Edward Hale Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver. --Barbara De Angelis Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate. --Albert Schweitzer Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. --Scott Adams Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that has. --Margaret Mead Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind. --Eric ... Read Full Story >>
I have lived with passion and in a hurry, trying to accomplish too many things. I never had time to think about my beliefs until my 28-year-old daughter Paula fell ill. She was in a coma for a year and I took care of her at home, until she died in my arms in December of 1992. During that year of agony and the following year of my grieving, everything stopped for me. There was nothing to do -- just cry and remember. However, that year also gave an opportunity to reflect upon my journey and the principles that hold me together. I discovered that there is consistency in my beliefs, my writing and the way I lead my life. I have not changed, I am still the same girl I was fifty years ago, and the same young woman I was in the seventies. I still lust for life, I ... Read Full Story >>
A volunteer, by definition, serves and improves our community. But a little birdie once told me there are some volunteers who prefer to laze around and play Candy Land instead of getting any real work done. I assume these people believe that since they are volunteering, they are automatically helping and consequently forget to put genuine sweat into their work. Is it possible to have your peacock feathers a bit too fully displayed and misdirect your admirable intentions? I posed the following questions to a bunch of my cronies who have years of experience in the nonprofit sector: What makes a first-rate volunteer? What makes a helplessly high-maintenance volunteer? How can a person become a super-hero volunteer? Listen to the following advice of my friends. I’ll be bold enough to guarantee that my grass-roots amigos can steer you down the most direct boulevard to becoming a kick-butt volunteer. Jennifer Beahrs, a ... Read Full Story >>
California town decides to put kindness on the agenda By Susan Herendeen Wednesday, April 22, 2009 WATERFORD, Calif. — This little town in eastern Stanislaus County may be known for the orchards and dairies that dot its rolling hills, but this week city officials are reminding the 8,100 residents to pass on some good cheer by doing something thoughtful for a stranger, mentoring a youngster or simply being a good neighbor. Thanks to a push from the Waterford Ministerial Association, the city has declared "Random Acts of Kindness" week, which began Sunday and ends Saturday, at the close of a community clean-up day. City leaders may not find a cure for the ills of modern life, like road rage or bullying or the angry remarks that can demoralize a community. But they hope to remind people that kindness can turn strangers into friends. "It's a goodwill kind of thing, to draw attention to the fact ... Read Full Story >>
My mother and grandmother were incredibly generous, giving, and loving people. I think that love and giving go hand in hand.
I remember when I was a little girl there were children over playing at my house. We were out in the yard and there used to be ice cream trucks and their bell would be ringing, calling in the children everywhere, the ice cream man is here! I went running back in the house. I guess ice cream was probably about a nickel, and there were fifteen children on my front porch. There were always a lot of children around there.
My grandmother would give everybody a nickel to go buy ice cream, and if she did not have enough nickels for all the children, then I didn’t get an ice cream either.
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The ... Read Full Story >>
The other day, my sister accidentally dropped a quarter while leaving the grocery store. To her surprise, an elderly man came out of the grocery store behind her, holding another quarter in his hand. The elderly man handed his quarter to my sister thinking that it was the quarter that she had dropped. My sister informed him that it was a mistake and told the man to keep his quarter. The man then informed my sister that he didn't need the quarter because he had already saved over 9,000 quarters to follow his dream of driving across the country. He then said regrettably that he was now too old to drive across country and had decided to spend the money on purchasing a TV instead. As the old man slowly walked away, it occurred to my sister that a friend of hers had traveled across country by train. My sister quickly ... Read Full Story >>