Happy New Year! Yup, this is my first blog post in 2021. I came down with a nasty cold between Xmas and new years and barely had the energy to keep up with work and other obligations. But I’m back and I’m on the mend!
One year ago, one of my dear friends and I decided to take the Kindness Week Challenge one step further. Before I show you what we did, let me explain what the challenge is all about:
The Guinness Book of Records
OK, so this particular record might not be recorded there…. However, I think our record is more important than any normal world record.
Our record isn’t what I’d consider “nomal”. If it was, everyone would be doing it already – right? And if everyone was, we wouldn’t have to….
You see, with our record we are making the world a better place. One person at a time, plus the ripple effects.
What we’re doing this week in the Master Key members’ area is leaving comments every single time we observe or do an act of kindness. We have challenged one another to leave more comments than the previous year’s members did, thereby setting a new record.
Because what we focus on grows.
Breaking the record, “beating” last year’s members in the amount of kindnesses reported is of course not the goal….
…. Making our world a better place is, and when we do that – we are ALL winners! 🙂
In previous years (when hugging strangers was fine) the staff and guides of the Master Key have celebrated at the end of the week by giving out free hugs to strangers on the street. (Here’s a video from the free hugs in 2018).
Last Year …
In January 2019, my friend Nina and I were confident that the members would break the record, so we decided to “act as if it has already happened” by giving out free hugs on the street and celebrate in advance.
We made signs that said, “Free Hugs!” and “Do you want a HUG?” (the latter in our native language, Norwegian), hung them around our necks and started walking around down-town here in Fredrikstad… Yes, I was WALKING!! Just a couple of weeks before this event, I was finally able to walk without using crutches for the first time in over three years. But I digress, back to the story:
We Norwegians are not exactly famous for being chatty with strangers… but to Nina’s and my pleasant surprise, our fellow Norwegians actually thought this “free hugs” thing was a good idea, and we lost count of how many people we hugged that day!
We hugged people of all ages
– even those “too cool for school” teens who might think that everything we “dinosaurs” do is silly and embarrasing…. (Hey, I get it, I used to be that kind of teen myself!). Some of these teens pointed at us and snickered when they saw our signs, but every teen that we met did hug us and many of them said they thought it was a great idea! We encouraged them to try it out at their school. I hope they did.
Out of all the people we offered a free hug that day, only 3 or 4 said no. Saying ‘no’ to hug strangers is perfectly fine, of course, and we just smiled and wished them a nice day. Nearly 100 % liked our kindness campaign, most people loved it!
I wonder how many lives we touched that day. For some, this might be have been the only hug they got all year … Others were perhaps inspired to spread some kindness on their own. What I know for sure is that we did make many people very happy that day. Ourselves included.
This was such a fun and lovely experience, we have saved the signs so we can do it again!
If you don’t feel like hugging strangers on the street, remember that a kind word is like a verbal hug.
• In Book II of “Rhetoric”, Aristotle defines kindness as “helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped”.
• The movie ‘Pay it Forward’ illustrates the power one person can have to make an impact on a chain reaction of kind deeds. The philosophy of ‘Pay It Forward’ is that through acts of kindness among strangers, we all foster a more caring society.
• “Kindness Boomerang” is a video by ‘Life Vest Inside’ . It shows how one act of kindness passes seamlessly from one person to the next and boomerangs back to the person who set it into motion. Within months after its release, Kindness Boomerang went viral. The video has been viewed over 34 million times! Here it is:
Here are more kind folks who pay extra attention to kindness this week:
Stay tuned for more unusual posts.
Wishing you an abundance of kindness wherever you go!
Love from Bibi (MKE Guide)