Beyond Valentine’s Day: Kindness Year Round

Although Valentine’s Day is when we commercially celebrate love and our loved ones, I feel we should celebrate another national holiday all year round.

Help the world turn kind by celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Week taking place through Feb. 23. Introduced by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation in 1995, its mission has been: to change schools, the workplace, families and society through kindness. What a wonderful mission to carry on not just during Random Acts of Kindness Day (Feb. 17) or Week, but throughout the year. 

In my home-care business, I am inspired and touched daily by the people I get to meet and the stories they are living. I recently read something that caught my eye as I was reflecting on kindness and love. “Kindness may appear in many forms but it is always from the heart.” 

There are many situations I can draw on where the kindness, care and love shown are remarkable and truly from the heart, so I will just share a few that stand out to me. 

One grandson completely changed the trajectory of his life by moving halfway across the world to care for his ailing grandmother and stay by her side till she took her last breath. His partner was also there and they, along with caregivers, made grandma’s last few months a peaceful time.

A husband whose wife had been diagnosed with a fatal disease, made a pact with her that she would remain in their family home as long as she was alive. He worked full time but had a caregiver help so his wife was safe and taken care of until he came back home, when he took over her care as she rapidly declined.

My home care business partner, John Han, recently started attending a church in Oakland where he ran into his high school wrestling coach, some 20 years after he last competed. Coach Jerry was the volunteer wrestling coach at Skyline High School for about 10 years. 

Being a volunteer coach to teens — mostly boys — in the Oakland Unified School District is in itself commendable, but the fact that Coach Jerry had underwritten Skyline High School’s team, year in and year out, speaks to his incredible generosity and kindness. It took John 20 years to really appreciate what it meant to have someone — nearly a complete stranger — pay for his tournament fees and uniforms, but, alas, John is grateful to reflect on the impact Coach Jerry may have had on the countless young men and women who passed through his stinky, sweat-stained mats. 

I hope you will join me in helping the world turn kind during Random Acts of Kindness Week through this Sunday, Feb. 23. But let’s take it a step further and let’s view kindness as a contagious thing, as a chain that keeps adding links to make it stronger and larger. And each of us have many opportunities to extend that chain ever longer. 

We can do it daily with our family, friends, neighbors and yes, even strangers. It can be as simple as buying lemonade from a stand, replying to a social media post you enjoy, eating local or asking a senior about their past. 

For more ideas, check out www.randomactsofkindess.org/kindness-ideas.

Seize the opportunity to extend kindness to one and all. You will bring joy to someone else and it will fill your heart, all year round.