Welcome to Service Thursday! If you haven’t already read this week’s Kindness Matters Monday post, will you take a second to do that?

I’ll wait. 🙂

Thanks!

So this idea – the concept of “The Butterfly Effect” – really resonated with me. Perhaps because I’m such a believer in random acts of kindness. (Remember our Acts of Kindness Day? That was SO fun!)

I have another idea that’s been spinning around in my brain. I honestly don’t know how well it’s going to work. I DO know that it won’t work without your help. But if you jump in with me, this is going to be awesome.

Are you in?

Great!

Here’s my crazy idea. Let’s start our own butterfly effect.

The “rules” are simple. Just do an act of kindness, and leave behind this little card.

Butterfly Effect

(All you need to do it print it. If you’d like a full-page image, you can click here. If you’d like smaller images – this one prints four per page – click here. If you would like to participate and don’t have access to a printer, please leave a comment – I’d be happy to mail you one.)

Why are we leaving behind a card? Well, two reasons. First of all, we’re leaving behind a note so that whoever discovers our act of kindness knows that it’s intentional. Once, trying to be nice, I left behind a quarter in our shopping cart at Aldi (for those of you who aren’t familiar with Aldi, the carts are coin-operated; you get your quarter back when you return your cart). Anyway, a very nice young man chased me down to let me know that I’d “forgotten” my quarter. 🙂 Leaving behind a note lets the recipient know that yes, this (fill-in-the-blank surprise) is for them. Because if my kids found a dollar in the toy aisle at the Dollar Tree, I would have them return it to management in case some poor kid accidentally dropped it. But a dollar with a card attached, saying it was meant to brighten someone’s day … that would absolutely make my day (and theirs)! I’d let my kids spend it, and then I’d make sure we paid it forward.

And here’s the second reason I made these little notes. Because I’m hoping that as this spreads, people might be willing to “check in” and let us know. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could track how far our “kindness butterfly effect” travels?? What an amazing lesson that would be – to ALL of us – of how powerful kindness actually is, and what a rippling impact it can have.

Seriously. If you live in California and do an act of kindness for a stranger, and that person goes on vacation to Vegas and does an act of kindness, and then THAT person goes home and does an act of kindness for his or her spouse, and then that person’s spouse goes on a business trip to Boston and does an act of kindness …

Okay, perhaps I’m a bit optimistic.

But doesn’t it sound like fun? To start a kindness avalanche and see where it goes?

So let’s do it!

To sum up our service challenge this week …  just do an act of kindness for a stranger and leave behind this note so they can see what we’re doing – and, hopefully, pass it on! This post has a lot of my favorite ideas, and this post is full of fantastic suggestions that have actually been done by the members of our Let’s Do Some Good Today community! There are acts of kindness for every budget, starting as simply “make a card for a friend” or “buy a candy bar for a cashier”. You could send an (anonymous) card to your neighbors, thanking them for keeping their yard beautiful. Leave a small gift for someone who is often unnoticed, such as a custodian or a behind-the-scenes employee. Send a gift card in the mail to someone who needs it. Pay for someone’s drive-through order or toll or parking meter. Whatever it is … find something that speaks to your heart and do it.

Start a kindness avalanche.

I am so excited to hear what ideas you have! If you’d like to leave a comment, that would be fantastic – I’d love to hear what you’re doing. If you’re planning on doing something for a friend who also reads this website, feel free to comment anonymously. 🙂 And if you have a moment – share this with anyone you think might be interested! Share it on social media. Print out a few extra handouts and pass them out to friends at Church, to classmates, or to coworkers. Get your scout troop or youth group or sports team involved. And let’s change the world, one act of kindness at a time.

RAKs

6 Comments on The Butterfly Effect

  1. LOVE this!!! Hope and I have been doing acts of kindness all week! We started with a couple of quarters in toy machines, then left chalk at the park, a bag of microwave popcorn left at the movie box, and today we taped a scratch off lottery ticket to the gas pump. I wish we had seen your cards to leave as well! Keep up the awesome job! LOVE all this so much!

  2. My family and I are going to Disney world this week. I was just thinking we should do some raok there. Your note is perfect timing! I’m thinking about leaving pennies/quarters in the penny press machines and handing out glow necklaces at the nightly fireworks! Thanks for the cards!

    • I am thrilled to hear that, Beth! We’ve handed out glow necklaces at night, too, and it’s such a great way to spread kindness. Leaving behind coins is a fantastic idea as well. I hope you have a magical trip!

      • Thank you, we will! I just recently came across your site…what an inspiration! I spent all afternoon reading all your old posts! Glad I found it.