This world is an angry place. Particularly now. There is tension everywhere. But what can we do about it? The problems seem so immense. Unsolvable. People are battle fatigued. Tired of the strain. I know I’ve felt that way. The bombardment of the news cycle. The constant negative. It is a drain. What can one person do to make it stop? Well, not much. But then again … there is something we can do …
Last week I received a small gift in the mail. My daughter sent me these little mason jar salt and pepper shakers. There was a little note that said, “Saw these and thought of you.” It brightened my day beyond belief.
I texted her right away to say thank you. "I got a QAK!”, I said.
What the hell is a QAK? You've heard of Random Act of Kindness. Well, let me introduce you to QAK. A QAK is a RAK only done quietly. A Quiet Act of Kindness. My daughter will more than likely be upset with me for making this public. But I’ve dealt with that before and survived.
There is something very special about doing something for someone else. Without a lot of fanfare. Doing it for the sake of giving rather than what you may be receiving. Not posting it on Facebook or Instagram. Not patting yourself on the back (which I run the risk of doing writing this blog).
I’ve been incorporating weekly QAKS into my world for a year now. I love them. Sometimes I hear from the recipients. Other times not. It doesn’t matter. My motivation is nothing more than to brighten someone’s day.
Having been on the receiving end of a QAK I can tell you it does. It brightens a day a lot. And it keeps on giving. Every time I look at my little Salt & Pepper shakers I remember. I feel that same little something that made me feel special when I received them. It’s a good feeling. It’s a feeling that when repeated over and over again can change the world. Seriously. I'm not being trite here. It doesn’t take a lot to make someone feel good. People who feel good. People who feel loved. Heard. Thought of. Those people lose their anger. Those people smile. Those people listen a little more and are less reactive. A little kindness goes a long way.
QAKs can be very simple.
- A card to say Hi. I’m thinking of you.
- Making a meal for someone.
- Baking some cookies and bringing over some tea to a new mom you know needs a break.
- Showing up to a friends house who is ill and bringing some magazines or a list of good movies to watch on Netflix.
- Sending a dumb handwritten joke to that friend who needs a laugh.
- An anonymous small gift or card. (That would drive me crazy. The gift that keeps on giving!)
I heard on a podcast today about someone who received a CD in the mail from a friend. It contained a similar note to my daughter’s. "Saw this. Thought of you." He loved it. Now every time he listens to this particular band he thinks of his friend and has the joy of music. What a combination!
While I was in Nashville last summer I stopped at a light while driving the rental car. There was a homeless man at the meridian asking for money. I had nothing as I was traveling without cash. I rolled down the window and said, "Hi". I told him I didn’t have anything to give him, but I wanted to wish him a good day. We chatted for a while – it was a long light - He told me how much he is ignored by people and how it makes him feel worthless. He said that me taking the time to talk to him had brightened his day immensely. He felt human. I found out he was a war vet. He found out I was from Canada and we started talking Politics. He was such a nice man. It was nothing but a chance encounter that brightened my day. I think of him often and hope he is well. Little moments are beautiful. It doesn't have to be elaborate.
The main thing is the act of giving and not the recognition you’ll receive. It is the act itself that brings you joy – the rest is a bonus.
Seeing that it is World Post day (October 2nd) it seemed appropriate to talk about QAKs.
How can you start? Do you have an extra blank card laying around? Or why not head out to the Dollar Store and buy a few. What if you wrote a little note to a friend saying, "Hi, I think you’re special." and mailed it today? And then next week think of something else. And the next week something else. What if you did it consistently, and then another person started? And another. And another. Like the shampoo commercial and so on and so on …
This world is an angry place. Particularly now. There is tension everywhere. We need more kindness. More so than ever. Because a little kindness goes a long way.
Change the world one kind act at a time. Together we make the difference.
PS - As my gift to you, because who reads to the end of a blog? Enjoy my version of Folsom Prison Blues. Its one of my favourite songs to sing and a crowd favourite. I think you'll like it. Spread the love.